Trinity Lutheran Church
   

Stained Glass Tour

Stained Glass Window

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 Church.

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.

The Portals

The Portals

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, and John.

Above the Portals is carved the name, Trinity Lutheran Church.


Directly above the name,
from left to right are:

At the far left is a six-pointed star symbolizing the six days of creation.

6 Days of Creation

The symbol for God the Father, the creating hand issuing from a crown of glory. The three extended fingers represent the Trinity.

God the Father

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 (Revelation 5:1).

God the Son

God the Holy Spirit is symbolized by the dove (Mark 1:10)

Holy Spirit

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.

Cross

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 and sanctifier

Glowing sun over a field of grain

Glowing sun over a field of grain

Fleur-de-lis

Fleur-de-lis, the symbol of the Annunciation by Gabriel to Mary

Symbol for missions

Symbol for missions

Blessings of the home

Blessings of the home

Five-pointed star

Five-pointed star: Our Savior's birth

The Lamp of the Word of God

The Lamp of the Word of God, the symbol for Christian Education

National Seal of the United States

Blessings in a free land, the National Seal of the United States

Peacock

Peacock, the symbol of the Resurrection

Ship

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.

Philip Melanchton

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.

Johannes Bugenhagan

Olavus Petri, leader of the Reformation in Scandinavia, especially in Sweden. Translated Bible and hymnal into Swedish.

Olavus Petri

John Knox, great reformer in Scotland.

John Knox

Carl F. W. Walther, leader of the Saxons to America, the founder of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. He was also its first president.

Carl F. W. Walther

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.

Martin Luther's Coat of Arms

The Loggia : North Side
Great Cities of the Reformation

Eisleben

Eisleben, where Martin Luther was born November 10, 1483.

Wartburg

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

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

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 Scripture.

Augsburg

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.

seal of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod

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," in Latin.

Additional Details

As we stand in the breezeway at the covered drop door, looking to the west, there are four symbols on the transept wall.

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 Communion
Clasped hand of a Woman and a Man, representing Holy Matrimony

The Sacraments

Above the breezeway at the covered drop door, are symbols of our geographic setting.

Seal of the United States of America

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 1858.

Seal of Trinity Lutheran Bloomington

Seal of the State of Illinois

Seal of the State of Illinois

Chancel Windows

Chancel Windows 1 Chancel Windows 2 Chancel Windows 3 Chancel Windows 4 Chancel Windows 5

1

2

3

4

5

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.

Window 1

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 creation)

Window 2

Panel A - The Wise Men and the Star. (Matthew 2:1-2)

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.

Window 3

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 true vine.

Window 4

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, the lion.

Panel C - Resurrection of Christ, with the angel and the sleeping guard, (Mark 16)

Window 5

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

Reuben Simeon Levi Judah Issachar

Reuben

Simeon

Levi

Judah

Issachar

Zebulon Dan Naphtali Benjamin Asher

Zebulon

Dan

Naphtali

Benjamin

Asher

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).

North Clerestory Windows

St. Peter St. James St. Simon St. Phillip St. Bartholomew

St. Peter

St. James

St. Simon

St. Phillip

St. Bartholomew

St. Thomas St. Andrew St. Jude St. James Minor St. Matthias

St. Thomas

St. Andrew

St. Jude

St. James Minor

St. Matthias

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).

Chapel Windows

St. Stephen St. Polycarp   St. Jerome St. Augustine

St. Stephen

St. Polycarp

 

St. Jerome

St. Augustine

St. Athanaseus St. Boniface   Martin Luther Carl F. W. Walther

St. Athanaseus

St. Boniface

 

Martin Luther

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 late Rev. Ernest L. Gerike, for researching and compiling the tour of Trinity's stained glass and architectural features.

 

Download Stained Glass Tour Brochure (1.5mb .pdf file)

Rev. Ernest L. Gerike