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The Center of the Cross

<<by Melinda Creech, guest blogger for Lent>>

The next step in making the papercut banner is drawing the design out on the paper. I try to get most of the design drawn on the paper before I begin cutting. Tyvek is a little slick, so I have to use a very soft-leaded pencil to draw the line, but it erases very easily. A lot of erasing that goes on before I settle on a design.

The main element of the banner is a cross. The logo of the San Antonio Mennonite Church is at the intersection of the pieces of the cross.

The logo was created by Hilary Comer, a member of the church. The design is a simplified version of the round stained glass window at the front of the church on the west end.

A matching round stained glass window overlooks the balcony at the back of the church, on the east end.

According to a booklet entitled Seventy Years in His Kingdom: Westminster of San Antonio, by Frances B. Aschbacher, the sanctuary of the church building, which previously housed The Westminster Presbyterian Church, was dedicated on January 30, 1949, and “a steady flow of snowflakes blanketed the surrounding in white,” just like last week!

The windows are described in the booklet.

A circular stained glass window was placed high in the west end. Another, above the

massive entrance doors at the east end, bears a cut-stone emblem representing the

seal of the Presbyterian Church.

The symbol of the Presbyterian Church of the United States is in the center of the east end stained glass window. The symbol includes a descending dove over a shield containing a burning bush and an oil lamp, surrounded by olive branches. The words on the bottom ribbon “LUX LUCET IN TENEBRIS” means “the light shines in darkness.” The east end window has symbols of the four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

The San Antonio Mennonite Church logo is based on the other round stained glass window, in the front, at the west end of the sanctuary. It is not described in Aschbacher’s book. It seems to me the window speaks about the life of Christ.

The symbols representing the nativity, the baptism, the crucifixion, and the resurrection are quickly identifiable. The one pane that puzzles me is the one on the left side. It shows a dove carrying an olive branch, flying away from something. It seems to be a reminder of the story of Noah. However, I am trying to understand it in the context of the rest of the symbols. The Presbyterian seal shown above also has a dove and olive branches. Perhaps this is to remind us that Jesus brings us a new kingdom where we can find peace and be peacemakers.

In the story of the flood the old order is passing away, and the new order it showing up. The dove with the olive branch is the first sighting of the hope of the new order. Jesus says it like this:

I have spoken these things while staying with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit,

whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and will cause you to

remember everything I said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; I do

not give it to you as the world does. Do not let your hearts be distressed or lacking in

courage. John 14:25-27

I would love to hear if anyone has a take on the “mystery dove.”

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