The Rose Window
Discovery and Revelation. Our rose window has been uncovered after about fifty-two years of being hidden by ranks of
organ pipes and woodwork. When the rebuilt organ is installed it will be smaller than before, and placed differently, so
that the window will remain in view. Some have asked about what symbolism is represented in the window we again
can see. What does it reveal?
We see a lamb standing in the center, with eight florets or rays radiating out from it, and perhaps leading back
to it. The lamb is standing on a book, with seven round objects, five of them apparently attached to ribbons, appearing
from the pages of the closed book. I will call these round devices seals. There is a flow spurting forward from the lamb's
chest, being caught by a chalice. There is a halo about the lamb's head, with a cross inside it, and a pair of green lights
The bands that shine outward from the center vaguely suggest stalks of wheat. Each of the eight petals contain
a flow of designs which may be more decoration than designation.
The significance of the lamb is rich and multi-layered. Perhaps the place to start is to remember the ram caught
in the thicket that was offered in the place of Abraham's son, Isaac. Then think of the Passover Lamb, or Paschal Lamb,
whose blood was sprinkled on the doorposts to ward off the angel of death; this is the lamb who was sacrificed, and
consumed in the Passover supper, which prefigures the Eucharist. In John 1.29 John the Baptist points to Jesus and says,
"Behold the Lamb of God." Paul in I Corinthians 5.7 says that Christ our Pasch has been sacrificed. Christ as the Lamb of
God is mentioned twenty-nine times in the Book of Revelation. Especially note Revelation chapters 4 and 5, where the
lamb is worthy to break open the seven seals, revealing the meaning of the book of life, unleashing judgment. The lamb
is victorious on the throne, and though apparently offered up as a helpless sacrifice; it is actually also the lion of Judah,
powerful in victory. Slaughtered as a lamb, he is revealed as a powerful lion.
We are saved by the blood of the lamb. We are washed in the blood (baptism), and drink it from the chalice
(Eucharist). The seven seals are broken open, revealing our future in God. Eight is the symbol associated with the new
creation, the eighth day being the Lord's Day, the first day of the new creation, which is brought about by the Agnus Dei,
who is also the Agnus Victor.
Father Joseph Ross 2014