Window Reflection: Week Six of Easter
By Isaac J. Beam | May 6, 2018
The Eucharistic motif provides the background for the window, which in addition to the grapes contains two crosses: the so-called “Trinity” cross with fleurs-de-lis at the terminals of the arms and base, and at the bottom, the Celtic cross which plays a prominent role in Anglican Church decoration and architecture.
“By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?” - 1 John 5:2-5
There are times in life when we all doubt the burdens placed upon us, when we question our ability to overcome the struggles that lie ahead. Even in my brief life, the future has seemed daunting on more than one occasion, whether it be looking at the next four years in college away from home and family, pondering a consequential test, or contemplating how life will be after having lost a loved one. At seemingly every turn, life presents a new challenge, a new mountain to be climbed, a new sea to be navigated.
However, as John tells us in his first epistle, there is nothing to be feared so long as we believe in God: “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” That theme, one of overcoming fear, tribulation, and death is, ultimately, what makes the Bible so important. Just as Christ died on the cross to atone for sin and show us the true meaning of love, in so doing giving us all the opportunity for eternal life, so too did he ensure that our suffering amounts to something much greater: endless joy in heaven. All that is asked of us, as John reveals in his epistle, is faith and trust in God’s commandments. After all, it is only through faith that we are able to find God, considering our unique disposition of being unable to understand all the intricacies of life and the universe.
There will always be another enigma, another problem whose solution remains elusive, and that is merely a fact of the human condition. Only by faith and trust are we able to attain a more divine nature, especially considering the commandments that John calls to mind. If we are truly faithful, willing to subject ourselves to a reality greater than ourselves, then following God’s commandments comes only naturally. The world may not be made sense of without God’s help, and that, I find, is the reason why John wrote the words he did. Through Jesus, life may be imbued with purpose and hope. Without Jesus, life is aimless, bleak, and confined. As Blaise Pascal said some three hundred and fifty years ago, “If I believe in God and life after death and you do not, and if there is no God, we both lose when we die. However, if there is a God, you still lose and I gain everything.”