“Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Today we look at the fourth in our series exploring the meaning of “The Lord’s Prayer Windows”, the lower lineup of stained glass windows along the eastern wall of the main Sanctuary.
Beginning at the top of the window you first find another depiction of the Trinity, with a cross, an orb, and a dove. The main image is of Christ giving absolution (the act of forgiving someone for having done something wrong or sinful) and the passion flower (representing the crucifixion of Christ) in the back- ground. Next there is an image of clasped hands, another symbol of reconciliation. At the bottom of the window is a second image of a priest giving absolution – the rite of confessing one’s sins to a priest; receiving absolution is also recognized as a sacrament in the Anglican and Orthodox Christian traditions.
The Miriam Webster website (miriam-webster.com) further defines the word absolution: “Since the Latin absolutus meant “set free”, it’s easy to see how absolution came to mean “set free from sin”. (And also easy to see why absolute means basically “pure” – that is, originally, “free of sin”.) The verb for absolution is absolve. Just as a priest absolves believers of their sins, you may absolve your brother of blame for a household disaster, or you yourself may in time be absolved for that scrape on the car backing out of a parking space.
For more information on all our windows, you may obtain a copy of A Guide to the Stained Glass Windows of Saint James’ Episcopal Church Los Angeles, available for a suggested donation of $20. Please contact the church office at 213-388-3417.
The original guidebook began about 1980, and was written by the Rev. Mark Lieske. Since then, many of St. James’ members have contributed to bringing it to its current edition, namely: Wills Beigel (deceased), Emily Maverick, Mary Maverick, Doug Seifert, Heidi McLean, the Rev. Canon Aidan Koh, John Daum (deceased), Karen White, Mike Lyons, and Mary Nichols. Sandra Lee was instrumental in creating the new design and getting the book printed. We are extremely thankful to everyone for the many hours of time and money it took to make this book possible.