Window Reflections: Abraham and Isaac

Written by Dave Rempel

Sixteen stained glass windows adorn the sides of the worship space at Ascension. Inspiration for the windows was taken from the fact that in Europe long ago, the faithful would learn the Bible from stories depicted in windows. It was intended that Ascension’s windows could be similarly educational. What follows is a meditation on one of the 16 windows. Look for additional reflections in future editions of the Bulletin or on this Parish Blog.

Abraham and Isaac

I will bless you abundantly and make your descendants as countless as the stars of the sky and the sands of the seashore. (Genesis 22:17)

This depiction of the prophet Abraham and his son Isaac follows up on themes from its neighbor, the first window on the left wall of the church, in which Joseph follows God’s direction to lead his family to Egypt. This time it is Abraham’s faith and trust in God (obeying God’s order to sacrifice Isaac) that is rewarded.  Isaac’s repose and countenance suggest that he shares his father’s acceptance of their Heavenly Father’s will. 

Abraham’s tunic of royal purple hints at the eventual importance of his line that begat the King of Kings.  As in the first window, we have a story of salvation (Isaac’s, this time).  God’s saving grace rains down in golden rays.  The wood—the instrument of destruction, which Isaac, like Jesus, carried up the mountain—and the altar foretell Jesus’s own sacrifice, as does the presence of the ram that takes Isaac’s place. 

Finally, the knife in Abraham’s hand shows his obedience, but its positioning makes me believe that its use on his son would have been just as painful to Abraham himself.