Monday, November 4, 2019

The window is not the problem. . .

Can you see the crucifix here?
This  from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis:
After a two-year study by a campus stained glass committee, Lynchburg Stained Glass of Lynchburg, Va., removed the faceted stained glass window in the chancel of the Chapel of St. Timothy and St. Titus in October 2019 to make way for new stained glass windows which Lynchburg is designing and fabricating. New stained glass windows will be installed throughout the chapel — the chancel, transept, nave and narthex — by early 2020 thanks to a generous trust established by the sainted Nell S. and Eugene Fincke, a former member of the Seminary’s Board of Regents. Because of the Finckes’ generosity, the chapel will now be as it was originally planned. When the chapel was designed, it was built with the capacity for stained glass throughout the building but the funding was not available at the time. As such, the only stained glass windows in place in the chapel have been in the chancel since the chapel was dedicated in 1992.

The theme of the new windows is the Te Deum Laudamus (Latin: Holy God, We Praise Your Name), a historic text of praise to God. The south transept window will depict the humiliation and crucifixion of Jesus Christ while the chancel window will depict the resurrection and the north transept will show the exaltation and second coming of Christ. The nave windows will push the worshipping community forward through Word, praise, prayer, thanksgiving and song to the primary elements of the Te Deum represented in the transept: “You had overcome the sharpness of death” and “You will come to be our judge.” Figures from salvation history as well as the redeemed from all the ages entering into the eternal kingdom will be represented. The past, present and future reality of training pastors, deaconess, missionaries and other church workers will be interwoven as a thread throughout the windows providing a thematic link to the old stained glass window, which featured the chapel namesakes on the center panels — Timothy and Titus — and the mission of Concordia Seminary.

While it is high time to replace the clear glass with the intended stained glass, the window in the
chancel of the Seminary Chapel of St. Timothy and St. Titus is NOT the problem.  What needs replacing more than ever is the paltry little crucifix that is so nondescript that it little does not even register to the eye.  What more fitting need can there be in a Lutheran Seminary Chapel than to have a prominent crucifix that befits the cross on which hung the Savior of the world for our redemption?

It is a crucifix to have to say you have one but with plausible deniability since no one will ever see it without it being pointed out to them.

Now lest you think I unfairly tar and feather the other Seminary in the LCMS (meaning the one I did not attend), I have long said the same thing about the Chapel at Concordia Theological Seminary, Ft. Wayne.  Saarinen did not have a clue about Lutheran theology as it related to worship and if anyone had any sense when the place was built that stick cross would have given way to a glorious Reinhardt mosaic of Christ crucified that would have filled the giant wall like a canvas in order to clearly say to the eye we know and preach only Christ and Him crucified.  Maybe we can find a donor to help us make that happen at the Fort. 

Are you with me?   Two great chapels with two dominant crucifixes. 


Anonymous said...

Thank goodness CSL is improving its chapel. Upon seeing the chapel for the first time after it was first completed, the then pastor of Trinity Soulard said, This is one of the nicest Presbyterian chapels I've seen.

Anonymous said...

Yes, what an opportunity missed at CTSFW.
Scot K

PT Mc Cain said...

Love this idea, Pastor Peters. A gloriously large beautiful crucifix on the wall of the chapel at CTS would be a stunning visual and would be a powerful "sermon" every day to all who are there: "We preach Christ and Him crucified." The "stark" interior would make it all the more powerful a wonderful addition.

I"m sure the alumni of CTS could easily raise $50,000 or whatever it would take to make this happen!

Rev. P.T. McCain

Chris said...

Te Deum Laudamus does NOT mean, "Holy God we praise thy name." Dumb Lutherans, learn some Latin.

Anonymous said...

I know Pastor Peters knows what Te Deum Laudamus says but that is what the Seminary put out in the press release.

Daniel G. said...


Te Deum Laudamus means You God, we laud or You God, we praise. So Holy God we praise thy name is not far fetched. No need to call the Lutherans dumb.

Daniel G. said...


For further edification:

You are God, we praise you:
You are the Lord: we acclaim you;
You are the eternal Father:
All creation worships you.
To you all angels, all the powers of heaven,
Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise:
Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of power and might,
Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
The glorious company of apostles praise you.
The noble fellowship of prophets praise you.
The white-robed army of martyrs praise you.
Throughout the world, the holy Church acclaims you:
Father of majesty unbounded,
Your true and only Son, worthy of all worship,
And the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.
You, Christ, are the King of Glory
The eternal Son of the Father.
When you became man to set us free,
You did not spurn the Virgin’s womb.
You overcame the sting of death,
And opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers.
You are seated at God’s right hand in glory.
We believe that you will come and be our judge.
Come then, Lord, and help your people,
Bought with the price of your own blood,
And bring us with your saints to glory everlasting.
Save your people, Lord, and bless your inheritance.
Govern and uphold them now and always
Day by day we bless you.
We praise your name forever.
Keep us today, Lord, from all sin.
Have mercy on us, Lord have Mercy
Lord, show us your Love and Mercy
for we put our trust in you.
In you, Lord, is our hope:
and we shall never hope in vain.

The following is a well known translation of the Te Deum, which, though not literal, preserves much of the spirit and force of the original. Except for the seventh stanza, which is a rendering of verses 20 and 21 by Msgr. Hugh Thomas Henry (1862-1946), it was written by Fr. Clarence Alphonsus Walworth (1820-1900).
HOLY God, we praise Thy Name
Lord of all we bow before Thee;
all on earth Thy scepter claim,
all in heaven above adore Thee;
Infinite Thy vast domain,
everlasting is Thy reign.
HARK, the loud celestial hymn
angel choirs above are raising;
Cherubim and Seraphim
in unceasing chorus praising,
fill the heavens with sweet accord;
Holy, Holy, Holy Lord!
LO, the Apostolic train
Join, Thy sacred name to hallow:
prophets swell the loud refrain,
and the white-robed Martyrs follow;
and, from morn till set of sun,
through the Church the song goes on.
HOLY Father, Holy Son,
Holy Spirit, Three we name Thee,
While in essence only One,
undivided God we claim Thee:
and, adoring, bend the knee
while we own the mystery.
THOU art King of glory, Christ:
Son of God, yet born of Mary;
for us sinners sacrificed,
and to death a tributary:
first to break the bars of death,
Thou has opened heaven to faith.
FROM Thy high celestial home,
Judge of all, again returning,
we believe that Thou shalt come
in the dreaded Doomsday morning;
when Thy voice shall shake the earth,
and the startled dead come forth.
THEREFORE do we pray Thee, Lord:
help Thy servants whom, redeeming
by Thy Precious Blood out-poured,
Thou hast saved from Satan's scheming.
Give to them eternal rest
in the glory of the Blest.
SPARE Thy people, Lord, we pray,
by a thousand snares surrounded:
keep us without sin today,
never let us be confounded.
Lo, I put my trust in Thee;
never, Lord, abandon me.

James Kellerman said...

Daniel G., thanks for pointing out to Chris the fact that "Holy God, We Praise Thy Name" is actually a hymn version of the Te Deum. It is based on the German versification ("Grosser Gott, wir loben dich"), published in a Catholic hymnal in 18th century Vienna.

Your first version is one that appeared in Lutheran hymnals of the late 70's and early 80's. I intensely dislike it and routinely use it in my Latin classes as an example of how NOT to translate. The first two or three lines sound as if they were written by someone who had read only one book, the one that begins: "See Spot run. Run, Spot, run!" They were part of that awful trend in the 60's and 70's to make liturgical texts hip. After Vatican II Rome got the most tin-eared translators it could find to render Latin liturgical texts into English, and Protestants followed suit, giving up the beautiful wording they had had since the time of Cranmer.

Here is how Missouri Synod Lutherans have typically sung the initial lines of the Te Deum and still do (The language is from our 2006 hymnal, which has changed the Thees and Thous of our 1941 hymnal to Yous):

We praise You, O God; we acknowledge You to be the Lord.
All the heaven now worships You, the Father everlasting.
To you all angels cry aloud, the heavens and all the pow'rs therein.
To you cherubim and seraphim continually do cry:
Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Sabaoth;
heaven and earth are full of the majesty of Your glory.
The glorious company of the apostles praise You.
The goodly fellowship of the prophets praise You.
The noble army of martyrs praise You.
The holy Church throughout all the world does acknowledge You:
You are the king of glory, O Christ;
You are the everlasting Son of the Father.

James Kellerman said...

If St. Louis changes its crucifix, does that mean I'll have to stop teaching that Gumby died for our sins?