Anderson, Indiana

Adam Miller Chapel and Stained Glass Window

Mon, 2012-04-30 11:19 -- batch_migrate

Adam Miller Chapel and Stained Glass Window

The magnificent stained glass window in the Adam W. Miller Chapel is a result of the joining of the theological concepts of the faculty of Anderson University School of Theology with the artistic and engineering skills of the Willett Company of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The window was designed and built in 1974 and dedicated in June, 1976, in memory of Edward E. and Norma J. Willhardt, of Toledo, Ohio, whose interest and generosity made it possible.

The window seeks to portray a universal expression of the Christian faith with its theological assumptions and symbols being particularly sensitive to the Christian faith as that faith has been experienced and proclaimed by the Church of God Reformation Movement (Anderson, Indiana).

The message of the window begins at its highest point. Here is symbolized, by the flight of a dove, the initial and primary facts of our faith — that God exists and that our knowledge of God begins only as God chooses to come to us. God has come to us and, by the continuing ministry of the Holy Spirit, we come to know God's very character and purpose among us.

Moving from this point of beginning to the extreme left and downward, the window symbolizes the three great truths about God which we have come to know through God's self-revelation. God is the Creator and continues to hold the creation firmly. Even though that creation has chosen to corrupt itself with evil, God is a Redeemer, like a sacrificial lamb, constantly coming to us and fully prepared to absorb the penalty, forgive the wrong. However, it is crucial to realize that the creating and redeeming love of God is not mere sentimentalism. We also know God to be judge, a just God whose word is law and whose judgments are definite and final.

When a person becomes aware of the gracious presence of the creating, redeeming and judging God, that person has the opportunity of responding appropriately. Accordingly, the window proceeds to depict the normal sequence of events which are characteristic of a person's appropriate response.

Moving from the uppermost point of the right side of the window and downward, there is symbolized the daily possibility of our knowing the creating, redeeming and judging God through the open pages of the Bible. When we have studied these pages and have been convicted by their truth, we have the opportunity to enter into a life-changing experience of Conversion, which is capable of making of us new creatures in Christ. It is like an ever-burning bush which sanctifies our lives and empowers us to do the will of God. And that will is a unique life of Service, a basin-and-towel experience which becomes our privilege as we come to have the mind of Christ.

When God is known and responded to appropriately, there comes into reality a new fellowship of persons known as the Church. The lower portion of the window seeks to express, through the use of human hands, two very distinct emphases in the heritage of the Church of God-the themes of Healing and Fellowship. To the left is a solitary human hand reaching confidently toward the hem of the Savior's garment, and to the right are two hands clasped together in the bond of unity which characterizes God's people.

Central to the entire window is the person of Jesus Christ. Although we know the many truths about God (our response to God is represented around the borders of the window), the primary truth is not contained in doctrines or traditions or books or practices, but in the person of God's self-revelation in Jesus Christ. Immediately behind the life-size portrayal of Christ is the Cross, encouraging us to remember the sacrifice of our Lord and the critical relationship between what he has done for us and what is now possible for us. This cross is crucial, but it is fading into the background because it is not our primary focus of attention.

Of principal concern is the person of Christ, who no longer is nailed to the cross-but freed from its grip through the power of his resurrection. He wears royal robes and is identified to the right and left of his head by the ancient symbols of Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. From his body there emerges a green vine, which moves outward and encircles the several basic truths we have come to know about God and people. These basic truths are important words, but Christ is the Word, the eternal vantagepoint from which comes the fullest understanding of the significance of all other words. Christ lives. Christ inspires. Christ interprets. Christ fulfills.

Christ stands with his arms outstretched toward you. He speaks that you might be awakened to new life in him. As the Triumphant Christ, he is saying to you, "I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me, though they were dead, yet shall they live" (John 11:25). As the Inviting Christ, he calls to you, saying, "Come unto me all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest" (Matt. 11:28).

As the Nurturing Christ, he says, "I am the Vine, you are the branches. They who abide in me, and I in them, it is they who bear much fruit, for without me they can do nothing" (John 15:5). As the Commissioning Christ, he commands, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations" (Matt. 28:19). As the Ascending Christ, he promises, "I go to prepare a place for you, and if I go ... I will come again and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there you may be also" (John 14:2b-3).