South Transept Window – The Great Commission
In loving memory of Donald Matthews Freeman 1909-1960, given by his family and friends
|The large three-lancet transept window (at the rear left of the congregation) contains post-Resurrection scenes. The central scene at the left lancet is the supper at Emmaus. Christ is shown breaking the bread at the table, and at that moment, the two disciples who have accompanied Him along the road recognize their companion. A small vignette shows another scene of recognition. Mary Magdalene in the garden coming early to the sepulcher on the first Easter morning realizing that He whom she thought was the gardener is in truth her Master.
The center lancet shows the Great Commission, the command of Christ to His disciples to go into all the then known world and preach and live the Gospel.
The right lancet shows Thomas, that Apostle who doubted Christ’s return, making his great confession of faith, “My Lord and My God,” as he feels the wound prints.
In the small vignette is seen Christ charging Peter to “Feed My Lambs.” In the predellas at the base of each lancet are great testimonies to the Resurrection. The left panel shows the first Christian martyr, St. Stephen, being stoned. He prays, forgiving his murderers and viewing Christ in heaven who is symbolized by rays of light shining down on Stephen from above. The center predella section shows the conversion of St. Paul on the road to Damascus. On the right is portrayed St. John, the Evangelist as an old man experiencing his vision on the Isle of Patmos and writing down the book of Revelation.
In the traceries* at the top of the window are the Resurrection symbols. The butterfly emerging from the chrysalis in a new and beautiful form, soaring heavenward, recalls the power of our Lord Jesus to raise up all the dead at the last day. The peacock is said to shed its feathers annually, after which he has new feathers more brilliant than before. Likewise, an old legend states that the peacock’s flesh is incorruptible. In like manner our Lord’s body was not corrupt. This was a popular symbol in the catacombs. The phoenix, which is also a very ancient symbol, is a legendary bird said not to die but to rise, recreated anew from the ashes of her burning nest. The bursting pomegranate, which is also observed in the traceries, is a symbol of the power of Christ which was able to burst the tomb on Easter Day and come forth alive.
(* tracery – a pattern of interlacing ribs, usually of stone. This stonework is at the top of a large stained glass window to help reduce the weight of the glass in the tracery on the glass in the main window below.)