Salt, Light and Stain-Glass Windows

4 min read

For a while now I have been captured by a section of scripture in the book of Matthew that speaks to our purpose as Christians. It speaks about being salt and light, about bringing out the God colours and God flavours in our world.

Matthew 5:13–16 (MSG)
Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavours of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage. Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colours in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand — shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.

I was inspired by something I heard at Hillsong Conference this year (2017) based on the above section of scripture. It focused on “You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colours in the world.” It was the concept that we, as Christians, are like stain-glass windows.

For hundreds of years stain-glass has been used to enhance churches and share the Gospel. It has captivated and continues to captivate architects and design lovers today.

In fact, stain-glass captivated King Louis the 9th so much that in the 13th century, he commissioned the building of a stain-glass cathedral in Paris, named Sainte-Chapelle, to house the crown of thorns Jesus wore on the cross.

It took 8 years to build and consists of 15 massive glass panels (15m High x 4m Wide), each with 13 different colours and in total, they tell 1113 bible stories. It is said to be the most beautiful and touching place in France, attracting 1 Million visitors a year.

3 Similarities Christians have to stain-glass windows:

1. We are designed to connect with the illiterate

Originally, stain-glass windows were designed for the illiterate. They were designed to help those that couldn’t read, to help them understand the story of the Gospel.

We can learn from the stain-glass window:

  • Stain-glass windows do what they were designed to do
  • Stain-glass windows simply tell the Gospel and point to Jesus
  • Stain-glass windows shine the God Colours into the world

As Christians, we are designed to do the same. We are designed to simply tell the Gospel and point to Jesus. We are designed to shine the God Colours into the world.

We must take the Gospel and make it palatable for the Gospel illiterate. To those who are blinded to the Gospel, those who cannot understand what it means, or how it applies to them, those who are confused by the purpose of the church.

These days, the Gospel illiterate are not only the poor, they are the wealthy, the famous and the doing just fines. We must learn how to weave the Gospel into the dirt of peoples lives.

2. We are designed for light

Light makes stain-glass windows beautiful. Without light, stain-glass windows serve no purpose. Nobody goes to look at stain-glass windows in the dark.

We can learn from the stain-glass window:

  • Stain-glass windows are designed to reflect light
  • Stain-glass windows are useless without light
  • Stain-glass windows are not the source of light
  • Stain-glass windows don’t carry ego or opinion, they only carry light

As Christians, we are designed to do the same. We are designed to have Jesus shine through us.

We are useless without Jesus. We are not Jesus. We are carriers of Jesus, not ego or opinion. When we make life about us, funnily enough we are draw curtains across the glass, stopping the light from shining. Without light, there is no beauty, no colour and no depth to our lives.

3. We are designed to last

The Sainte-Chapelle suffered several fires, a flood and was severely damaged during the French Revolution. Recently, upon restoration it was found that many of the original glass panels that were closest to the frame didn’t need restoration.

We can learn from the stain-glass window:

  • Stain-glass windows were designed by experts
  • Stain-glass windows were designed for longevity
  • Stain-glass windows were a combination of multiple glass panels

As Christians, we are designed to do the same. We are designed to last, to keep our colour and our flavour.

When we are wedged into Jesus, we last. When we are wedged in the Bible, we last. When we are wedged in worship, we last. When we are surrounded by other strong people, we last. We weren’t designed to lose our colour and our flavour.

When it comes to sharing our faith, be inspired by the simple stain-glass window. Remember that your purpose in life is to bring out the God colours and God flavours.

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