The Symbols of Our Faith

Soli Deo Gloria! “To God be the Glory.” This sanctuary was built to glorify our Lord. As a corporate body of people we gather here to worship, to celebrate God’s eternal, sacrificial, and enabling love for us. Here we are blessed by God, as we find ourselves convicted and comforted, challenged and encouraged, humbled and strengthened and hungered and fed.

 

The Chancel

The area facing the pews is called the chancel. From here worship is led.

The communion table sits in the middle of the chancel. On it are placed
∙    a plate,
∙    a cup, and
∙    an open Bible.

To the left of the communion table is the baptismal font.

On the back wall of the chancel is a stained-glass depiction of the cross.

The windows to the right and left of the cross celebrate the Lord’s Supper and Baptism.
Each of these items and windows serve as a visual proclamation of the Good News.

communion cup and plateThe plate and cup atop the communion table, as well as the window to the right of the cross, speak of Jesus’ Body crucified and His Blood shed to deliver us from sin’s curse and power.

 

 

 

Bible in Chancel

The open Bible reminds that God has mercifully provided for us the

  • ∙    inspired,
  • ∙    infallible and
  • ∙    inerrant

revelation of Scripture, which proclaims the Good News that God graciously works all things together for the good purpose of enabling us live as image bearers of Him.

 

Celtic Cross

The central window on the back wall of the chancel speaks of the cross where Jesus died.

∙    The colors scarlet, blue and purple were the colors used in the tabernacle and the Temple, where God dwelt symbolically in the midst of His OT people.
∙    The color gold reminds us of the ark of the covenant and the mercy seat that covered it, both of which were covered top it made of solid gold.

In the Old Testament, once a year, year after year, the blood of the atonement was carried inside these places of worship, brought before the ark, and poured out upon the mercy seat. But two thousand years ago Christ offered up the final sacrifice for sins, pouring out His blood in atonement for the transgressions of His people.

The cross is Celtic-shaped to remind us of the Scottish origins of Presbyterianism.

The cross is also empty, for Jesus . . .
∙    died,
∙    was buried,
∙    rose from the dead,
∙    ascended back into glory,
∙    now reigns at the Father’s right hand, and
∙    will come again to judge the living and the dead.

The baptismal font to the left of the communion table, and the window to the left of the cross, speaks of God’s faithfulness in keeping His covenant promises to us and to our children. He has sent the Man born of woman,
∙    His Son,
∙    His only Son,
∙    the Son whom He loves,
to die that we might live. And now He sprinkles clean water on us, assuring us of His covenant promise to send the Holy Spirit to take away our stone-cold hearts and replace them with  hearts alive unto Him.

From heaven He sends the Holy Spirit, as seen in the window to the left of the cross, Who mercifully gives us

∙    eyes to see,
∙    ears to hear,
∙    hearts to believe,
∙    minds to understand and
∙    wills to obey
so that by grace through faith we embrace Jesus as our Savior and Lord, knowing that by His life, death and resurrection He has redeemed us to be His people.

On either side of the communion table and baptismal font are the pulpit and lectern. From the pulpit God’s Word is spoken. From here the Word of God is read, taught and preached.
From the lectern we speak to God and to one another. From here we offer to the Lord our songs, testimonies and prayers, as well as sharing with the congregation announcements and items of interest.

The pastors of the church are robed. This signifies that corporate worship is a special moment of utmost importance and eternal significance. Scripture teaches us that when we come together as a corporate body to worship our Lord we are . . .
∙    gathering atop Mt Zion
∙    entering the gates of the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God,
∙    assembling together with thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, for we are the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven,
∙    coming into the presence of God, the judge of all people,
∙    joining with the spirits of the righteous ones,
∙    having been saved by the blood of Him Who died that we might live to do those good works which He has prepared in advance for us to do (Heb 12.22-24; Eph 2.8-10)..

 

The Nave Window

To the back of the nave, atop the balcony, is the narthex window. It tells the story of the covenant, that gracious bond in blood sovereignly established by God with those whom throughout all of history He has been at work redeeming for Himself.

 

 

 

 

Covenant with AdamAt twelve o’ clock we see the two trees of Eden: The tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

 

 

 

 

ProtoevangelionAt one o’clock is a serpent being crushed beneath a man’s foot. Adam and Eve, tempted by the serpent, committed a capital offense by disobeying God’s command not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. But God, instead of immediately sentencing them to death, curses the serpent and promises that one day a Man will be born to a woman, Whom the serpent will strike upon the heel, but Who in turn will crush beneath His feet the head of the evil one.

 

Noahic CovenantGenerations later, after the flood, God gives to Noah the sign of the rainbow, as seen at two o’ clock, symbolizing His promise to preserve life upon the earth, assuring that one day the Man born of woman will come to deliver His people from Satan’s grasp.

 

 

 

Abrahamic CovenantAt three o’ clock are stars that speak of God promise to Abraham to bless him with descendants as numerous as the stars, from whom will come the promised Redeemer.

 

 

 

Renwal of Abrahamic CovenantAt four o’ clock is seen the ram caught in the thicket, offered up in substitution for the life of Abraham’s son, Isaac.

 

 

 

 

Mosaic CovenantTo the Israelites, living as slaves in Egypt, God gives a Passover lamb, as pictured at five o’clock. The blood of such a lamb, splattered upon the doorframe of a house, covered the sins and delivered the first-born son within from the judgment being poured out upon the land of bondage. Jesus, John the Baptist proclaimed, is The Lamb of God, and we who by grace through faith are washed clean in His blood are described in Hebrews  12.23 as being the church of the first-born.

 

 

Ten CommandmentsAt six o’ clock are the tablets of stone upon which the Finger of God inscribed His Holy Law. God gave to His people His Law
∙    to teach them how to live,
∙    to reveal to them their inability to keep perfectly His commandments, and thus
∙    to show them their need of a Savior.

 

 

Ark of the CovenantThe Ark of the Covenant is depicted at seven o’clock. Graciously, God’s law provides His throne (Ps 99.1) as the place where once a year on the Day of Atonement the High Priest could pour out the blood of a substitutionary animal, atoning for the sins of the people. This annual sacrifice, along with the daily sacrifices proscribed by God, reminded them that they still awaited the coming of that Man who would offer up the final and perfect sacrifice for sin.

 

 

Davidic CovenantSeveral generations later God provides for His people a King named David, who is symbolized at eight o’ clock by a shepherd’s crook and a king’s crown. His reign anticipated the coming of that final Ruler Who will be the good Shepherd, protecting and providing for the sheep of His pastures.

 

 

 

MangerAt nine, ten and eleven o’ clock are a manger, cross and empty grave. Each year during Advent we celebrate the coming of that Man first promised in the Garden.
∙    Born in a stable, a manger for His bed,Jesus fulfills all the Law’s demands, takes upon Himself the sins of His people,
∙    dies on Calvary’s cross to pay the penalty for their transgressions,
∙    and then rises triumphant over sin, death and the grave.

 

 

CrossAnd now we return to the top of the window. By grace through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ, we are granted the wisdom and knowledge that would have been Adam and Eve’s if they had been obedient to the Lord’s command, and rejoice to know that we shall dwell with Him forever in that Holy City where flows the river of the water of life, along whose banks grows the tree of life, which shall throughout all eternity provide food and healing for the nations.

 

 

TombAll of our stained-glass windows and each of the items mentioned are meant to reflect the beauty, glory, holiness, mercy and love of our gracious covenant-keeping Lord. May they serve for generations as visual reminders of His faithfulness.