Glencairn Methodist Church
Stained Glass Saints
St Andrew's Church Glencairn is an unprepossessing building - basically just a grey box. (You can see some photographs here.) Nevertheless, due to the efforts of the Reverend Mervyn Kingston (Curate in Charge 1984-90) we do have some stained glass windows of the Saints of Old. Mervyn discovered that the windows of St John's Church Laganbank, which was closed in 1942 and demolished soon after, had been rescued and were in storage in the crypt of St Ann'e Cathedral Belfast. He acquired some of these and had them build into an internal wall in Glencairn church. They are illuminated by the lights in the porch. They depict the Holy Family flanked by the four Evangelists. Here is a detail from Matthew and Mark.
We often think of the Saints of Old as exceedingly holy men and women who following Jesus unquestioningly and never put a foot wrong. In other words as "Stained Glass Saints". But when we study the Gospels we get a different picture. We see that they are simply men and women like us - people who were infected by the magnetism of Jesus and who wanted to follow him. But yet they had the same human foibles as we do, the same doubts and fears, the same lack of understanding and of faith. When they were in the boat on the stormy lake and Jesus was asleep, they shouted at him, "Don't you care?" and Jesus chastised them for their lack of faith (Mark 4:35-41). And even when Peter declared that Jesus was the Messiah, he had completely misunderstood the nature of Messiah-ship and Jesus called him, "Satan!" - Adversary (Mark 8:31-33).
Nevertheless, the disciples persevered with Jesus and Jesus with them, and as their understanding of Jesus, his nature and his mission grew, so also did their faith and trust in him. But yet, they were not as devoted to him as the woman who anointed Jesus with her expensive perfume (Mark 14:1-9), they fell asleep in the Garden of Gethsemane when Jesus need their company (Mark 14:32-41, they ran away when he was arrested and hid from the authorities (Mark 14:50). In the end, Jesus won them completely, and, empowered by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, they successfully launched the Church (Acts 2).
Dear Reader, you are called to follow Jesus. Please respond and let him persevere with you as you grow in understanding and faith. Let him build you into his Church. There is a song, "The Summons", by John Bell and Graham Maule (Church Hymnal no. 605) which we in St Andrew's have adopted as our "disciple hymn". Here is the first verse. Please think about it!
Will you come and
follow me if I but call your name?
© 1987, Wild Goose Resource Group, Iona Community, GIA Publications, Inc.
Google the first line to get links to all the words and the tune, Kelvingrove.
This piece was inspired
in part by notes by Jeremy Duff, Guidelines, Bible Reading Fellowship.
10 August 2009
NOTE - Previous "Monthly Messages" are archived at http://glencairn.connor.anglican.org/previousmessages.htm