"THE GARDEN IS FULL"
By: Jenna Lennon, FBC Member
When I study the details in this stain glass window, I immediately think of summertime. The leafy trees and the mature sunflowers represent this time of year when THE GARDEN IS FULL. The scripture that Mr. LeCompte selected to go in this window is, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”  (Matthew 5:7) 

This verse comes from the Beatitudes which Jesus preached during the Sermon on the Mount. There were eight blessings that Jesus shared in that sermon, but for today let’s focus on verse 7 and what it means to be merciful in our every day, ordinary lives.

I don’t know about you but I am usually more likely to show mercy to others when I remember the mercy that has been shown to me. Here are “just a few”:

  • Like when I stole a pretty pink lipstick off the dresser from my great Aunt Clara and my mom made me confess it to her. Aunt Clara had the best jewelry box and she let us nieces play in it when she came to visit. She didn’t get mad at me but hugged me instead.
  • Like when I asked God to forgive me of my sins at the age of 11 and became a follower of Christ.
  • Like when I was 20 and wrecked my car on Father’s Day and my parents didn’t yell at me, but they really should have.
  • Like when I was a new mom and didn’t know what I was doing but my children turned out healthy anyway.
  • Like next week when I get the privilege of celebrating twenty-five years of marriage thanks to my husband’s willingness to not hold grudge.
  • Like every day when I confess my sinful nature to Jesus and He refills my weary spirit.

Can we even wrap our brain around how much mercy we’ve been given? By God? By others? It’s humbling. Of course, that leads to the question, how do we show mercy?
  • How can I be more giving of my time?
  • How can I share the abundance of what I have with others?
  • Who do I need to forgive even though they don’t deserve it?
  • Have I shared my faith with anyone lately so that they might also know the fullness of God’s love and mercy?

In this season of summer, THE GARDEN IS FULL. Let’s think about ordinary ways that we can abundantly show mercy to others. After all, our Father has given us far better than we deserve.
"Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy." Matthew 5:7
Rowan LeCompte (1926-2014) was a world-renowned stained-glass artist best known for his work in the Washington National Cathedral that spanned an unprecedented 70 years of artistic commission.

Mike Queen Reflects on Mr. Lecompte
I was pastor at FBC when we commissioned the windows by Mr. LeCompte. We had been searching for an artist to do the four windows but with a little luck. Nancy Efird called me one day said she had read in parade magazine about Rowan LeCompte. She told me how famous he was and that he lived in Wilmington. In fact he lived across the street from Tom and Jimmy Wallace, members at First Baptist. He and I met at least a dozen times over the course of the three years it took him to complete the windows. Each visit was distinct memory unto itself. What I will never forget were the hours he spent sitting in the empty chapel studying glass and light. He would lean pieces of glass up against the clear glass of those windows and stare at them for hours. He will come on sunny days and then return on a cloudy day. He was always concerned that the windows faced north and the sunlight came from the south. He said that meant the sunlight shown on the old jail behind the chapel and reflected off of that red brick. He said it did strange things to the stained glass. He was a perfectionist, and the windows are a testament to that fact. He called me one day to tell me that he was going to be gone for a few weeks and that it would slow the process down. He said, “I need to go back to France and study the work of the 13th century masters one more time.“ He returned more inspired and more determined to finish our windows been at any time in the process. He put all the glass together and created the windows and then set the glass to New York to be leaded and set in the frames. To see them and to read the words of scripture in them is to know they are the work of a master.