Silent sermon? Is that possible? Yes! The
often heard expression, "a picture is worth a thousand words,"
is certainly understood as we stand in awe observing and studying
our Gracious Lord's promises and praise His marvelous words as depicted
in all of the symbols, "silent sermons" at Trinity Lutheran
The stained glass windows in our church are more
than mere spaces in the walls for the admission of light. Symbols
are not merely decorations for decorations' sake.
They are deeply religious, inspirational, and educational.
Their unique function is to set worshipers apart from a mundane world
for a few fleeting moments in order to provide the proper perspective
to their view of life as "priests of God."
This tour is arranged to unfold the doctrines, characters,
and events as found in the Scriptures and in the history of the church
as we enter our church from the outside to the beautiful Great Cross,
the window above the altar. Take time now to absorb the quiet, peace,
serenity, beauty, and history that meet and surround us as we approach
and enter our House of the Living God.
As we approach the main entrance of Trinity Lutheran
Church, we are immediately impressed with the four massive stone
columns representing the four Evangelists: Matthew, Mark, Luke,
Above the Portals is carved the name, Trinity
Directly above the name,
from left to right are:
At the far left is a six-pointed star symbolizing the six days
The symbol for God the Father, the creating hand issuing from a
crown of glory. The three extended fingers represent the Trinity.
The symbol for God the Son is a lamb bearing a cross and a banner
of victory. The Lamb is reclining because He was wounded for our
transgression. The Lamb is sitting on the Book of the Seven Seals
God the Holy Spirit is symbolized by the dove (Mark 1:10)
At the far right is a Cross symbolizing Jesus' death on the
cross. The rose signifies our redemption whereby man, once created
in the image of God, is restored through the blood of Jesus.
The Loggia (open-air gallery)-East Side
As we pass through the portals and enter the
loggia, we see a grand display of carved stone symbols representing
the Holy Blessed Trinity:
"Father" showing His care and provision
"Son" showing His work
and mission as our Savior
"Holy Spirit" as guide
Glowing sun over a field of grain
Fleur-de-lis, the symbol of the Annunciation
by Gabriel to Mary
Symbol for missions
Blessings of the home
Five-pointed star: Our Savior's birth
The Lamp of the Word of God, the symbol
for Christian Education
Blessings in a free land, the National
Seal of the United States
Peacock, the symbol of the Resurrection
Ship, the symbol for the Church sailing
unharmed through all perils
The Loggia-South Side
Great Men of the Reformation
Philip Melanchton, a great co-worker
of Martin Luther. An outstanding authority in New Testament
Greek and usually regarded as the author of the Augsburg Confession.
Johannes Bugenhagan, known as the
Organizer of the Reformation in northern Germany and Denmark.
He was the pastor of the City church in Wittenberg, Germany.
Olavus Petri, leader of the Reformation
in Scandinavia, especially in Sweden. Translated Bible and
hymnal into Swedish.
John Knox, great reformer in Scotland.
Carl F. W. Walther, leader of the
Saxons to America, the founder of the Lutheran Church-Missouri
Synod. He was also its first president.
Immediately inside the door on the left
is Martin Luther's Coat of Arms, which is a cross on
a heart resting on the Messianic Rose and surrounded by a
circle to symbolize eternity.
The Loggia-North Side
Great Cities of the Reformation
Eisleben, where Martin Luther was
born November 10, 1483.
Castle at Wartburg, where Luther
was held in protective custody after the Diet of Worms and
where his famous New Testament translation was completed.
Wittenberg, headquarters of the
Reformation at the University of Wittenberg and the place
where Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of the castle
church October 31, 1517.
Worms, the city of the famous Diet
(general assembly of the estates of the Holy Roman Empire)
of 1517, where Luther gave his "Here I Stand" speech on Holy
Augsburg, where the Augsburg Confession
of the Evangelical Lutheran Church was presented to the Emperor
and Electors of the realm by the Lutherans in 1530.
Immediately inside the front door on the right is the seal
of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. This seal was designed
by Dr. A. R. Kretzmann who was also the liturgical art advisor
for all of the symbolism in our church building. It is believed
that this is the first time the Seal of the Lutheran Church-Missouri
Synod was engraved in stone. The seal contains the great mottoes
of Lutheranism, "Scripture Alone, Grace, Alone, Faith Alone,"
As we stand in the breezeway at the covered drop
door, looking to the west, there are four symbols on the transept
Baptismal Font, representing the Sacrament
of Holy Baptism
Child Receives the Holy Spirit through the Rite of Confirmation
Chalice and Wafer, representing the Sacrament of the Altar, or Holy
Clasped hand of a Woman and a Man, representing Holy Matrimony
Above the breezeway at the covered drop door,
are symbols of our geographic setting.
Seal of the United States of America
Seal of Trinity Lutheran Bloomington, depicting
the year 1853, the year the first Lutheran worship services
were held. Actual organization of our congregation was in
Seal of the State of Illinois
As we enter the Sanctuary, our eyes are immediately drawn
to the five windows above the altar. The Chancel windows were purposely
made the most beautiful as this is where we focus our attention
and interest as the Word is preached and the Sacraments administered.
Panel A - Angel touching the coal to Isaiah's
lips to purify him. (Isaiah 6:6)
Panel B - Nehemiah rebuilding the walls
of Jerusalem. (Nehemiah 4:6)
Panel C - Cross with Old Testament symbols: Censer
and incense; Ark of the Covenant (Exodus 25); Serpent lifted up
by Moses in the wilderness (Numbers 21:4-9), also symbol of the
Savior (John 3); Creator's Star. (Six points for the six days of
Panel A - The Wise Men and the Star. (Matthew
Panel B - Cross with symbols of the Passion:
Chalice, (Matthew 26:27-28); Hammer and nails, Crucifixion; Scourges,
(John 19:1-3); Lantern, (John 18:3) In the corners, two evangelists:
Matthew, the winged man; and John, the eagle.
Panel C - Crucifixion, (John 19). The Apostle
John and Mary Magdalene stand below the cross.
The Great Cross surrounded by the symbols of
the 12 Apostles. The vine symbolizes the Old and New Testament Churches,
as in Isaiah 5 and John 15. We are bound together by Christ, the
Panel A - The birth of Jesus. (Luke 2)
Panel B - Cross with symbols of the Passion:
Pitcher and Basin, (Matthew 27:24); Crown of Thorns, (Matthew 27:29);
INRI, Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews; Cross and Winding Sheet.
In the corners, two evangelists: Luke, the ox; and Mark,
Panel C - Resurrection of Christ, with the angel
and the sleeping guard, (Mark 16)
Panel A - Ezekiel in his vision of the
flaming wheel, (Ezekiel 1:15); Vision of the church.
Panel B - Daniel in the lion's den with
his angel guard, (Daniel 6:22).
Panel C - Cross with symbols of the New Testament:
Triangle, the Trinity; Tower and Gate for the church, (Song of Solomon
4:4); Candlestick, (John 8:12); Tablets of Stone, (Exodus 20).
South (upper) Clerestory Windows
As we enter the church, the upper set of windows
on the south (South Clerestory) represent the Old Testament church
through the symbols of the most important of the tribes of Israel,
people who were involved in offering God's promises of salvation
to the world.
Beginning from the entrance to the Chancel: Reuben (waterfall & rock, Genesis 49:3); Simeon
(fortress, Genesis 35:25); Levi (censer & vessel, representing
the priesthood, Leviticus 16:12); Judah (Lion's whelp, Genesis
49:9); Issachar (donkey, Genesis 49:14); Zebulon (ship
in harbor, Genesis 49:13); Dan (serpent, Genesis 49:17);
Naphtali (doe, Genesis 49:21); Benjamin (wolf, Genesis
49:27), Asher (horn of plenty, genesis 49:20).
South Nave Windows
John the Baptist
The lower set of windows on the south represents
the voice of the prophets and are entitled "The Preparation for
the Gospel", as these men carried the promise of the Messiah
throughout the Old Testament record of Israel and emphasize the
three-fold office of Christ-Prophet, Priest, and King.
Entrance to Chancel: Isaiah (coal & tongs, Isaiah 6:6); Jeremiah (cistern,
Jeremiah 2:13); Ezekiel (gateway, Ezekiel 40:3); Daniel
(four-horned ram, Daniel 8:8);
Next are the kings of Israel-David (harp, 1 Samuel 16:23);
and Solomon (temple, 1 Kings 6:1); Aaron, representative
of the priesthood (rod & breastplate, Exodus 2:4); Moses,
as the lawgiver (tablets of stone containing the Ten Commandments,
Exodus 24:12); St. John the Baptist (hair coat, forerunner
and baptizer of Jesus, Mark 1:1-6); and Zacharias (winged
scroll, father of John the Baptist, Luke 1:63)
North Clerestory Windows
St. James Minor
The North Clerestory windows symbolize ten of
the Apostles, people of the church carrying the message of
the Gospel to the world. All are shown except St. Matthew (three
purses) and St. John (chalice and serpent) which are shown in the
Great Cross Chancel window.
From the Chancel to the entrance: St. Peter (inverted cross and keys-tradition says Peter did
not consider himself worthy to die in the same position as Christ,
and Matthew 16:19); St. James (Three shells, journey to Spain
where he planted the church); St. Simon (fish-fisher of men);
St. Philip (basket and cross-John 6:5 and missionary journey
to upper Asia and Phrygia); St. Bartholomew (Bible and knife-missionary
efforts to Armenia; knife for martyrdom); St. Thomas (arrows
and square-missionary to India where he built a church building
with his own hands; St. Andrew (X-cross-on which he was bound
instead of nailed by his executors); St. Jude (ship-missionary
journeys); St. James Minor (paddle, saw, and battleaxe-used
to kill him); St. Matthias (books and Halbard-chosen to take
Judas Iscariot's place).
Carl F. W. Walther
The Chapel windows present the Great Heroes
of the Faith who demonstrated the Gospel in their lifetime to
a needy world.
From the Chancel to entrance: St. Stephen (cloak and stones-stoned to death, Acts 7); St.
Polycarp (dove, heart, and spears-martyr, Apostolic Father,
69-156 AD); St. Jerome (book and pen-translated Bible into
Latin, called the Vulgate, 331-420 AD); St. Augustine (heart
and arrows-emphasized salvation by grace, as Luther did, and African
church-father, 354-430 AD); St. Athanaseus (pillars and Bible-great
defender of the Nicene Creed; Athanasian Creed named for this confessor,
296-373 AD); St. Boniface (book, dagger, and heart-martyr
who brought the Gospel to the German people, 683-755); Martin
Luther (rose and heart-monk who reformed the church, 1483-1546);
Walther (cross, church, Bible, log cabin, ship-church-father
of Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, 1811-1887).
Many thanks to the Rev. Ernest L. Gerike, Pastor
Emeritus for researching and compiling the tour of Trinity's stained
glass and architectural features.