26th June 2023

Tyndale’s stained glass windows: War Memorial 3.

Let us start this Thought for the Day on our war memorial window with what the artist thought he was illustrating, which he confessed to be Triumph through Adversity.

Reading from the bottom up, we start with Revelation 13 which has the dramatic verse ‘And there was war in heaven’, and then proceeds to depict the Archangel Michael expelling the dragon, otherwise known as Satan, from heaven down to earth, where he proceeds to lead ‘the whole world astray’, a verse which makes the image so relevant to the satanic forces unleashed in Europe, 1914-18, and which still haunt us today with even more destructive capacity. All this emphasises that spiritual warfare has material consequences, which therefore need spiritual resolution.

So we should take note of contrasting signs of hope: John writing the names of the faithful on the scroll he holds; the quotation of John’s prediction of the future in Revelation 21 v 4 – ‘And there will be no more death’; and overall this, the dove of peace, the symbol that destruction from devastating flood waters was at an end, and God was about to give Israel the rainbow promise of a new beginning, heralded by a dove bearing in its beak the hopeful sign of an olive leaf, symbol of peace and prosperity [Genesis 8, 10-22].

The artist’s celebration of the dreadful carnage of world war looks forward to a world where new life has triumphed over old death. That is why the Book of Revelation, difficult as it is to interpret, is important, spelling out as it does the message of Christian hope which will surely triumph over all adversity.

John Briggs