A Story of Three Gardens
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River of Light
Stained Glass Window Oratorio
Interview with the Artists
from Pastor Adam’s Vespers
In his Tuesday Vespers, Pastor Adam interviewed Tim Carey, the artist who designed the stained glass window at Church of the Resurrection, and Justin Monroe, the filmmaker who recorded the process and created the award-winning documentary “Holy Frit” out of the experience.
This triptych is the story of the Hebrew Bible, which some Christians call the Old Testament. Many key figures from the Old Testament are represented here, and the pattern of humanity’s tendency to sin and God’s redemptive grace are evident throughout.
The tree in the left triptych represents Paradise lost, and the universal struggle with sin, suffering and death. Notice that its bark is darkened with age and its leaves are withering. The first man and woman, Adam and Eve, are told they can eat anything they wish in this garden, except for the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. But they are tempted to eat, and they can’t resist, and when they pluck from the tree they disobey God and are banished from Paradise. This story is an archetype – a pattern – that tells us about ourselves. We are all tempted to do things we should not do, and the consequence of that disobedience is often pain – pain we inflict on others and on ourselves.
The right side of the stained glass window contains the story of the church age, from Pentecost and the early church continuing into recent times. The third garden contains the Tree of Life, found in the last chapter of the Bible, Revelation 22, which tells us: The tree’s leaves are for the healing of the nations. There will no longer be any curse.
This garden is a vision of the future, when Paradise is restored and heaven and earth come together. The Bible tells us that in this New Heaven and New Earth, there will be no more sorrow, crying or pain, and that violence will end. We believe Christians are called to participate in God’s redemptive work in this world, to be champions for justice, advocates for those who cannot speak for themselves, and to do what we can to make earth more like the Kingdom of Heaven.
The characters in the right triptych did just this, and made a profound impact not only on the Christian faith, but on the world itself by their example and their lives.