Saint James Anglican Church

Joseph Howe Drive at the Armdale Rotary, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada             


SAINT JAMES

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THIS WEEK       

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All Souls Chapel and Columbarium

 

Reflections

Archdeacon Rod Gillis

All Saints Sunday, 2001

 

I have been asked to reflect upon the significance of both stained glass art and the pastoral role of All Souls Columbarium for our parish.

 

Our modern world often measures the value of art primarily in monetary terms.  The skill of the artist and the beauty of a particular piece of art are certainly important in a Christian setting; however, skill and beauty also work to glorify God and teach us something about the content of our faith.

 

Since ancient times many forms of art have been used to instruct the faithful about the events of salvation history, the person and works of Christ, and the saints of the Church.  Stained glass functions as a "visual aid" in the service of Christian education and devotion.  It speaks to us in a way that language cannot.

 

Consider the messages in the windows being dedicated today: Christ is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, or more generously, the source and completion of our life in God.

 

The windows around the niches display a message about the trust we may place in God.  The Tree of Life found in the opening and closing books of scripture, is about the divine desire and destiny for the people of God.  The Rainbow, in the covenant with Noah, illuminates God's promise to the whole inhabited world.

 

The Dove is a powerful symbol of the life giving spirit that recreates us in our baptism.  The Lion and Lamb are the showing of a God who calls us into the reconciliation and peace of the age to come.

 

The Resurrection Morning window bids us witness to a bold faith and a confident hope.  Madonna and Child radiate the love that causes heaven and earth to be joined in the word made flesh.  Ruth and Naomi mirror in the faithfulness of God in faithfulness of human relationships.

 

In recent years the first service of the resurrection, the Easter Vigil, is celebrated in All Souls Chapel.  At that time the message "Christ is Risen" is proclaimed anew.  This morning we dedicate these new windows, along with other memorials and appointments noted elsewhere in this leaflet.

 

These new additions, together with the Light of the World and the St. James windows, and the unseen but ever heard prayers of generations past and present, adorn and edify the setting for the Easter message: "Christ is Risen".

 

This message is the hope of all who rest in the Columbarium.  May the message, and this place, be of comfort to all who come to worship, to pray, and to linger to reflect in the Chapel of All Souls.