Christ and the Faithful Steward

  Christ and the Faithful Steward

Photo © Martin Crampin, Imaging the Bible in Wales

larger image

about 1949

Two-light window. A man kneels before Christ, while behind people sit at a table in a colonaded interior, with views out into the city.

technique: stained glass

firm/studio: John Hardman Studios

Llanthewy Road Baptist Church, Newport
side wall

Signed Hardman.

Text: 'He will make him ruler over all that he hath.' (Luke 12:44)

Given in memory of George Henry Jones (d.1944) and his wife Annie (d.1949) by their children. They were founder members of the church.


Although at first sight a straightforward visual interpretation of the parable of the faithful and conscientious steward (Luke 12:37-44 especially) the Hardman window has several layers of meaning. The Lord who is awaited (v.36) is shown here as Jesus, and the feast in the background is the wedding-feast (v.37) where bride & groom (right) and guests (left) are being served conscientiously. The steward kneels before the Master, and receives from him the promise (v.43-4). Prominently displayed in the centre foreground is a pitcher and a basin, traditionally provided for the washing of the feet of guests - a required gesture of hospitality (compare with Jesus' rebuke to the pharisee who had omitted that courtesy in Luke 7:44). However their presence inevitably recalls Jesus' washing of the disciples' feet at the Last Supper in John 13 (vv.4-17) and his reminder to Peter, who objected, of its significance (v.8). The marriage-feast is also a reminder of the Last Supper, and of the Holy Eucharist as the foreshadowing of the Heavenly Banquet and the Marriage Feast of the Lamb (Rev.19:9) and the blessedness of those who are called to it. It is not surprising, then, that the kneeling figure of the steward has overtones of Peter, and the steward's staff of office of the pastoral staff of the bishop, recalling Christ's resurrection commission to him (John 21:15-18) and His promise in Matthew 16:18. The bishop is supremely the steward of the mysteries of God. This is perhaps an unusual window to find in a church of a non-episcopal, reformed tradition, but it is worth bearing in mind the Catholic origins and traditions of the Hardman firm which produced it. Because of the multi-layers of meaning, it is a fascinating piece of visual theology.



 

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Christ and the Faithful Steward

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Photo © Martin Crampin, Imaging the Bible in Wales


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