Monday, 29 August 2011

The Lady of the Stained Glass Window

I was fascinated today by the story of one young woman's war spent driving tractors for the Land Army in Sussex which was submitted to a BBC people's history website about World War Two.  She worked alongside President of Kenya, Jomo Kenyatta, who was in the UK during the War.

She mentions at the end of her story, that when she and her husband were married, the vicar of St Clements, Hastings asked her to pose for the artist Philip Cole, to represent the Land Army in a replacement stained glass window over the altar. I looked up this window's image. She seems to be the woman kneeling on the left (link below).  What a tremendous thing - to be perpetuated in stained glass.

This window is modern in concept: it not primarily about universal Bible truths. Nor does it depict Victorian pre-Raphaelite angels in bright garments. It is about how to face modern evil and overcome it, through faith.

It shows ordinary people in wartime uniform, working and honouring God.   In one hundred years time, the clothed 1940's figures will be quaint. However, as the original window was destroyed by war (a bomb), the message of this new window seems to be clear: evil, sacrilege and destruction can be reversed by the sacrifice of man and women working together prayerfully for the glory of the risen Christ.

This is the hope of the Church in all ages.

The Land Army story of Betty Merritt is here: The Hastings stained glass window is here:

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