Stained Glass Windows Title  
 


I. INTRODUCTION

II. THE CREATION ROSE WINDOWS

III. THE CENTRAL ROSE WINDOW

IV. THE LANCET WNDOWS

V. THE STORY BEHIND THE WINDOWS

 
 
 
  Transcendent Glory  
 
The crucifixion, the empty cross, and the risen Christ - the central elements of the passion story, each represented in art glass using a diversity of technique. The crucifixion was created in inlaid stained glass, the empty cross with beveled on clear glass, and the risen Christ in hand-painted clear glass with inlaid stained glass in the background. This bespeaks grand diversity with the Kingdom of God and the centrality of Christ.
 
     
     
If a picture is worth a thousand words, and the Word of God is living and active, then it is understandable that the human spirit desires to exalt the living God through visual art. Truly, by expressing the beauty of god through art, we are able to see into the heart of the Psalmist.

One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple. Ps. 27.4

In four main window groups is conveyed the story of creation (east and west rose windows), life within the Old and New Testaments (lancet windows) and the drama of Revelation (large rose window). These windows are for the heart’s meditation. They were designed to adorn the environment of worship with expressiions of God’s glory through light, color and texture.

To visually transform and transmit light in this way is a visual metaphor for the way God transforms the human spirit and transmits His presence to the world. Through the integration of art and architecture, these special windows call out the essential reality of the Kingdom of God - that the Kingdom of God is at hand. With penetrating light, the reflect and refract the beauty of God so that all may behold the glory of God.

BACK TO THE TOP

 
     
   
 

THE CREATION ROSE WINDOWS

 
 


The east and west rose windows tell of God’s journey of creation. Capturing the morning and evening sun, the windows embrace the Alpha and the Omega of time and space.

In the west rose, the spectacle and wonder of creation is enveloped in a color pageant reflecting the splendor and majesty of Creator God. This window depicts the creation of heaven and earth, the separation of light and darkness, the separation of the waters from the firmament, and the placement of vegetation upon the land. Each of these creation days is separated by a declarative mark of beauty and pure light signifying the beauty realm of God about all that has been created.

 
  BACK TO THE TOP  
East Window  
West Window
     
     
 

Ps. 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

The east facing rose window depicts the creation of the two great lights and the stars that would govern the day and night, the creation of every living creature, the creation of man in the image of God, and the temptation of Adam and Eve by the serpent. But the transcendence of God cannot be restrained by the actions of man. Once again the rose is adorned with marks of beauty and pure light through clear glass. Despite the ominous consequences of that infamous event, the beauty of God continues throughout the reality of the created order.

 
     
BACK TO THE TOP
 
       
  THE CENTRAL ROSE WINDOW    
 
We progress from creation to the consummation of the age in the large central rose window. The twenty foot diameter window contains a symoblic reference to the four evangelists separated by angels along the outside circle. The inside circle reflects imagery from Revelation, including the Lamb of God who opens the seven seals, the white horse and rider with bow and crown, the red horse and rider with sword, the black horse and rider with scales, the pale horse whose rider is death. Additionaly one will find the souls slain for the word of God, the seven angels with seven trumpets, and the vanishing of the sky like a scroll. The Risen Christ hovers before it all in glorious triumph and assumption of kingly authority. Color plays an important role in this work. There is an integral interplay between red and purple corresponding to the dual nature of Christ as fully God and fully man. It draws together all the works in an incarnational nature: the human blood of Christ as suffering servant and the glory of Christ as prophet, priest and king of all creation. The red perimeter is the blood of Christ surrounding the events of time, calling creation into passionate devotion. The purple center projects the central presence of Christ in the totality of history. The centrality of this large rose window and its ascendance above the lives and times of His people depicted in the lancet windows does well to reflect through art and architecture the transcendent nature of Christ in the intimate details of life.
  Central Rose Window
  BACK TO THE TOP    
       
    THE LANCET WINDOWS  

Lancet Windows

 

The three tall lancet windows take us from the transcendent story of God in creation and consummation and telescopes in on the drama played out in the Word of God. The left lancet portrays the Old Testament saints of Moses and Elijah (bottom), Isaiah and Jeremiah (middle), and Deborah and Esther (top). The right lancet presents us with Mary Magdalene and Lydia (bottom), Paul and the Virgin Mary (middle), and James and Peter (top). The center lancet attends to the life of Christ beginning with Joseph and Mary with baby Jesus (bottom), John the Baptist and Christ (middle), and the Crucifixion (top).

The lancets are adorned with the majestic use of golden yellow spires at the top and the bottom of each window. It bespeaks the royalty of the children of God and out dominion-bearing residency in the City of God. These majestic spires also indicate the splendor and majesty of the kingdom of God from the top to the bottom of human history. God is the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end. In the drama of human history, we long to become worshippers of God and deliverers of mankind.

 
    BACK TO THE TOP  
  BACK TO THE TOP  
 

THE STORY BEHIND THE WINDOWS

 
 

These art glass windows were literally a global effort, drawing on the talents of individuals from all across the United States and the heart of the Orient. They were fabricated using an innovative technique called Meixia inlaid glass - the Meixia technique for short.

It was architect John Templeton, of Foxhollow Goodson Architects who first recognized the potential of the Meixia technique for the windows at First United Methodist. From a ‘happen stance’ meeting with Meixia just weeks earlier, Templeton felt the innovative use of modern material and method and the talents of a world-class glass artist could converge to contribute something unique to the sanctuary architecture.

The theological concept for the windows was the brainchild of Sr. Pastor Jerry Mayo. The desire of his heart was for the windows to express the fullness of the gospel message and the incarnation of Jesus Christ. In his mind’s eye, they would tell the Story in such a way that observers 100 years hence would discern the message intuitively. Hence Mayo called for the expression of creation events and consummation prophecy centering on the life, crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. Hallmarks of redemptive history would be depicted throught the lives of various saints - from men of prophetic valor to Godly women of strength.

The Meixia inlaid technique utilizes a computer -controlled water-jet to make precision cuts in the art glass, alllowing for the smallest detail to be reflected in the cut glass. Some of the pieces of glass in these windows were so tiny, they had to be placed by tweezers. It also employs the use of a revolutionary joinery method using resin, avoiding the use of lead material. The stained glass is resin laminated directly to structural glass for protection, strength and a host of architectual benefits.

Materials from all over the world were utilized. The resin was produced in western Tennessee. The art glass was made at facilities in Washington, Oregon, Indiana and West Virginia. Other glass and materials were produced in China. The beveled cross and the Christ image were fabricated by Architectual Glass Art of Louisville, KY.

All windows were designed through the collaborative efforts of Don Carlos Thomas and Kenneth Von Roenn, Jr. of Architectural Glass Art. AGA also served as the project manager for all aspects of design, fabrication and installlation of these windows.

Developed by Oak Ridge, TN native and glass innovator Bill Job, the Meixia technique is crafted by a gifted team at the Meixia studios located in the coastal city of Xiamen in the Fujian province of southern China. Job has lived and worked in the Orient for 16 years with a heart to produce world-class works of glass art in redemptive God-honoring ways. The many months spent on the fabrication of this work by the Meixia studio team in China culminated in a true sense of being a part of a greater work. This is well reflected by a comment from Meixia’s Sophie Wong upon the departure of the art glass from the studio:

“We have said good-bye to the finished panels of FUMC this morning. We pray that our hard work and efforts as evidenced in these panels will bring glory to our Father’s mighty and wonderful name.”

During their journey to Murfreesboro, they passed through the famous Hong Kong harbor, traveled across the depths of the Pacific, entered the US at Long Beach, CA and traveled by rail to Nashville where they were unloaded for delivery to the project site.

These stained glass windows were truly a global effort. Our god is a global God. How fitting an expression of His goodness and greatness that skills and materials from all over the earth be brought together in the creation of art that honors His name. For beyond political, social and cultural differences is the Living God who truly created it all.

“For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever!”
Romans 11:36

 

 
  BACK TO THE TOP