Thursday, October 19, 2006

Fragments of glory

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Above, the crucifixion and resurrection windows.

When looking for some old teaching materials in the garage the other day, I came across something I have wanted to post for a long time--the poem from the program of dedication of the new stained glass windows at the First Baptist Church of Shreveport, Louisiana (my home church when I was growing up). The poem was written by the late Bill Mabry, a minister who served on the church staff for a long time and was the chairman of the design committee for the windows.

"Fragments of Glory"
by Bill Mabry

Each of us is a small fragment of glory,
A distinctive hue from the prism
of God's Image.

We come together in this sanctuary
To be pieced together in common cause,
According to His patterns
In order to proclaim His story.

But first He must break us.
He must ground off the jagged edges.
He must grind away the wounding slivers.
He must arrange us
and assign us
and assemble us,
Binding us all together
With the intricate tracery of His will.

There is sacrifice in creation.
Each must know his loss
In finding his place.
But when the work is completed,
The fragments of glory sing
As they dance into the eye
Bearing the gift of a Light from beyond.

No one piece of glass comprises the whole window.
No one window tells the whole story.
Only the Light is the whole.

Each of us is a small fragment of glory,
But none of us will ever know how luminous he can be
Until that Light from the more expansive world
Infuses him with a radiance not his own,
Flooding the dark recesses of this confined world
With Gospel.

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Above, the interior of the First Baptist Church of Shreveport, LA.
Below, a closer view of the original central window above the baptistry since its installation and the dedication of the sanctuary in 1963. The artist for the window was Sir Frederick Cole of Canterbury, who was inpsired by the main window of St. Clement Danes Church in London, the church of the Royal Air Force.
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Anonymous said...

Where were these new windows, I don't remember?

Fr Timothy Matkin said...

The ascension window over the baptistry (in the closeup at the bottom of the post) is original to the building, which was dedicated in 1963.

The other windows were originally clear antique glass. In the picture of the interior, you can see them covered with shades. They were replaced with stained class in the mid 1990s. The two windows pictured at the top of the post are among these replacement windows.

Anonymous said...

have they all been replaced on both sides----that must be beautiful---sorry I missed that!