St. Matthew’s Window

1935 by Lawrence Saint

This ‘patron’ window of St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church is by Lawrence Saint, who is well known for windows done for the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York, and the National Cathedral, Washington, D.C. The names of James Webb and Sarah Frances Cheshire and their children are laced throughout the window.

There are two panels of the window. The upper panel has the figure of the Apostle Matthew writing his Gospel. Though the quill and book would be unknown in his time, the importance of the words found on the perimeter are timeless and seem to have captured his imagination:

Matthew 5:2-10

and he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:

Blessed are the poor in spirit,

For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn,

for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek,

for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,

for they shall be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful,

for they shall obtain mercy,

Blessed are the pure in heart,

for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers,

for they shall be called sons of God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,

for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

These eight sayings, called the Beatitudes (blessings), tell of a new order. Those who are described in them are the last by human standards. They are the unhappy and the empty. But, they will be the first to be blessed and satisfied by God, for they may be filled precisely because they are empty. The lower panel depicts the call of Matthew, who was a tax collector. A tax collector worked for Rome and his work made him a reproach to all. The angel and the book open to his call (Matthew 9:9) reminds us that our ‘patron’ is evidence of Jesus’ words:

Matthew 9:13

Go and learn what this means, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice. For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.”

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close