A Story of Three Gardens
The Resurrection Window is a triptych designed to tell the biblical story, capturing the most important themes of scripture: creation, sin, redemption and restoration. The biblical story begins in a garden, it ends in a garden, and in between, Christianity’s most important redemptive story takes place in a garden. At the center of each of these gardens is a tree. These three gardens with their trees form the unifying theme of scripture with key scenes from the Hebrew Bible, the life of Christ and the Church Age.
The story in the window is God’s story, but it’s also our story. We’re meant to find ourselves in the story, and to see God’s work in creating, redeeming and restoring the world.
More than 2,900 people have helped make the Resurrection Window a reality by contributing in honor or memory of a loved one. Their gifts will become part of a legacy that will draw people to God and call them to become part of God’s redemptive work in the world for generations.
River of Light
Stained Glass Window Oratorio
This world premiere musical work, performed on April 23, 2017, and based on the figures in the window, encompasses stories from Adam & Eve through Martin Luther King Jr. and the Rev. Billy Graham. The 140-voices of the Resurrection Choir and the music of our 60-piece orchestra tell the story of God’s love through this three movement work composed by Resurrection member and University of Texas graduate Troy Armstrong.
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 garden featured in the center triptych is where Christianity’s most important redemptive story, the Cross, the Resurrection and Christ’s Life Story takes place. John writes in his gospel that Jesus was crucified in a garden, buried in a garden and when he rose from the dead, he appeared to Mary as a gardener. John intends for us to see that Christ has come to restore Paradise and to set the world aright. In this panel, the “tree” is the cross where Jesus died to redeem humanity. Through the cross, God’s saving and redeeming work is accomplished. The course of history is changed. The restoration of Paradise has begun.
The center triptych features scenes from Jesus’ life and ministry. Framed by the two Marys, the scenes begin with his birth on the left with Jesus’ mother, Mary, and end on the right with Mary Magdalene weeping at his tomb. Three days after his crucifixion, Jesus was raised from the dead. Notice that the hands of the resurrected Jesus are open, beckoning us into his arms, and they also send us out with a mission to be his hands in the world. The Holy Trinity is depicted in the sky directly to the left and right of the Resurrected Jesus by way of the cosmos and dove. Notice how Jesus’ hands point to the Father and the Spirit – a picture of the Trinity.
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.