An Ascension Preview
I wrote a brief memoir post about my grandmother and the family connection to Saint Jacobi called Church and Family. I was hoping to find someone who had a picture of the dove from the mural painted over the altar. It worked. I was recently contacted by a former parishioner of Saint Jacobi, Pastor John Miller from Saint Andrew Evangelical Lutheran Church in Milwaukee. It’s been wonderful corresponding with him and sharing information and stories. He’s been a wealth of information, and provided me with some fantastic pictures. It’s inspired me to write a followup to Church and Family. For today, however, you’ll have to be satisfied whit this:
As it is Ascension it struck me that the altarpiece and mural from the old Saint Jacobi church building are a depiction of the Christ’s ascent. When we read about the Ascension of our Lord in the Gospel we read:
And he led them out as farre as to Bethanie, and hee lift vp his hands, and blessed them. And it came to passe, while hee blessed them, hee was parted from them, and caried vp into heauen. And they worshipped him, and returned to Hierusalem, with great ioy: And were continually in the Temple, praising and blessing God. Amen.
Pastor Miller describes the scene as depicted in the old Saint Jacobi like this:
…the mural of Jericho and Hebron with the angels is apparently an extension of the altar statue of the ascending Christ. How true: he ascended as our victorious Lord who paid for our sins and opened heaven for us, through whom our prayers are heard (Vater unser…). He is preparing places for us in heaven. When he comes to us through his gospel by the Holy Spirit (dove), we have a sort of heaven on earth. This is what his Church is all about. This idea was carried out in a most unique way in the St. Jacobi window design: all the symbols in the windows, of the Sacraments, and his church in glory, and the Luther rose, etc. were set in CLOUDS. I have never seen this in any other church. I never understood why those symbols looked so strange with those white and grey blobs around them. Then I read the dedication article, and it all came together. When our Lord comes to us with his forgiveness and righteousness, we have a heaven on earth, and anticipate being with our ascended Lord in glory. I have to think that Pastor Jenny, whose ideas of church art and architecture were represented in the old church, had a lot to do with tying together all those ideas. How wonderful when art and architecture confess and glorify the Savior-God who gives us our gifts and abilities!
I’ll be posting more pictures and information about Saint Jacobi, Grandpa Jenny, and church art and architecture soon. In the mean time please enjoy this hymn for Ascension: Alleluia! Sing to Jesus.