Father Mark, Reflections

Making Connections: Symbols-a Way to Knowing

The Gregg Window adorns the East Wall of our Sanctuary. I gaze at it often and prayerfully ask the Lord to speak to me through it. Symbols and images have long been used as a means of creating spiritual communion between our Creator and ourselves. A symbol is like a window the Light shines through, pointing beyond itself to God.

One of the things windows teach me is that I don’t always see what is there–right in front of me. How many times to I walk past God without seeing or hearing caught up in my own mind with my own agenda? One of the goals of the the spiritual life is to be aware of the Reality of God, the reality of self and the reality of one’s environment for the purposes of discernment. One of my favorite prayers by the late Rev. Martin Bell (his stories are wondrous!) is: “Help me to realize, with real eyes, where the Real lies.” I’ve been here almost four years now and it wasn’t until recently that I noticed the 7 stars encircling above the light of the lamp at the top of the vertical cross. The number 7 is a whole number in Hebrew numerology. I ponder what the 7 stars represented in the mind of the artist. When you observe the stars, quietly gaze and listen for what might be given to you through the image–how the Spirit might be speaking through it to you. Observe. Listen–in solitude. Sometimes the experience received isn’t found in a word, but more simply in a quiet Presence. The seven stars beg the question: How is God bringing wholeness to me? To our church? To our community?

I would think that the artist, along with Josephine Gregg, her husband, and the whole community were fed by the words of the Psalm 119: Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path….” Texas had recently suffered through the War Between the States followed by seven years of military occupation with the atrocities of Reconstruction and decades of poverty following. It kind of makes the COVID event look small in comparison. I imagine that the Spirit reached many through this window. The memorial to David Gregg on the North wall, former Sr. Warden and Sunday School Superintendent for 35 years grew up through the turmoil of that era.

Making connections: One has to look closely at the scroll else will miss The Gospel that is carried in (I will call her “Sophia” meaning “Wisdom”) Sophia’s right hand. The Psalms are part of what is know as the “Wisdom Literature” in the Old Testament. What comes to me through the images is that The Gospel in the right hand feeds the Wisdom and Light that Sophia brings to us elevated in her left hand, as she walks, approaching us. She is the bearer of Good News to us in the midst of easy times and hard times, joy and sorrow, birth and death… and resurrection.

Sit with the image of Sophia and the Good News she brings with all the details. Listen as you gaze upon the Lord calling you and what the Spirit’s Presence is bringing to you. Enjoy!

Peace be with you,

Fr. Mark