St. John's Stained Glass Window

The Good Shepherd

I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me - just as the Father knows me and I know the Father - and I lay down my life for the sheep. John 10: 14- 15

How can we share our faith with others? How can we be of service to others? These are questions we all ask ourselves at one time or another.

I have recently become interested in finding out more about the stained glass window in our sanctuary. The signature on the window says it was made by Edward J. Byrne Studio, in Doylestown, PA. It was donated in 1972 when the sanctuary was built.

The image on the stained glass shows a young shepherd, Jesus Christ, standing in a peaceful pasture taking care of his sheep. Blue skies are overhead, with a few clouds floating by. There are majestic mountains in the background, rolling hills in the foreground, trees and bushes grace the sides of the window. The colors are absolutely alive with life!

The symbolism of Christ as a shepherd is explained in the gospel of John - Chapter 10. In this chapter Christ explains the correlation between himself, the shepherd, and us. The verse explains that one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. The shepherd goes ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. They will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice. Jesus used this story to explain his thoughts. (paraphrased from John 10: 1-18)

A humorous anecdote comes to mind about the sheep that followed Christ in this chapter “because they know the sound of his voice.” During the Living Nativity this past December, I had the pleasure of singing with the angels’ choir. We were positioned next to the shepherd’s and the sheep. At one point during the Live Nativity, the real life “shepherd” came up to the sheep, it was their owner and caretaker. The sounds and noise of delight that these wooly creatures made welcoming their “shepherd” made us all laugh but yet marvel at the simple act of recognizing when we are being taken care of. The simple act of acknowledging the person that meets our needs.

Isn’t Christ our shepherd? Doesn’t Christ meet all our needs, taking care of us along the way? Christ is leading us down the faithful path of life. He will lay down his life for the sheep, or those who are faithful to him; us.

Perhaps right now, all you can do is take care of yourself. Or take care of your family, as you work a full-time job, and navigate the restrictions of year three of a pandemic. Perhaps you are alone, dealing with an illness, widowed, divorced, or retired. 

No matter what situation you are in, the best way for you to share your faith is to take care of yourself, your family and friends, those that are closest to you. Isn’t that what each one of us does every day? We take care of ourselves, our family, our friends, our jobs, the people around us and our pets - to name just a few. You are showing your faith by your daily actions. And just as shepherds take care of their sheep, Christ takes care of us.

Dear Heavenly Father, let us give thanks for your faithfulness to all of us. Let us give thanks for the strength you give us every day, to take care of ourselves, our families, those close to us, and the things we need to give our time to. Help us remember that we are the good shepherds to those around us. Amen

   Tammy Coapman

St. John's Ivyland
820 Almshouse Road
Ivyland, PA 18974
Rev. Brad Leight, Pastor