The Story of our 16 foot high stained glass window

 

"The Tree of Life"

 

           The design for the stained glass window -The "Tree of Life" - began during the building of our new church home in Geauga County east of Cleveland in 1984.The design of the building included an opening for a large stained glass window looking into our sanctuary. Members of the congregation were invited to submit design ideas for this project. The opening was 16 feet high by 9 feet wide and overlooking US Route 322 to the south of the church. 

           The idea of "The Tree of Life" was first proposed by Mr. Kenneth A Wood;  a local and prominent artist and member of our congregation. Many in the congregation saw the merit of the design as a beacon of hope and faith  (Hebrews 11:1) to the local community. Other ideas were proposed and considered, but the church membership were convinced that he theme of the "Tree of Life" was the best, and so it was adopted.

           The "Tree of Life" is mentioned in two places in the Holy Scriptures.

First mention: of "The Tree of Life" - Genesis 2 

           The "Tree of Life" is first introduced into the Garden of Eden as part of the Creation story. It is placed there by God - Our Creator as a place to gather for renewal of life. It bore many manner of fruit for that task God mentions that those that eat from the "Tree of Life" will never die.  This tree was removed from the Garden of Eden after Adam and Eve ate from the "Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil". Adam and Eve were specifically told not to eat from the "Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil". This was a test of Trust and Relationship for our first parents. Because Adam and Eve failed to trust God's command, the relationship with God changed. They could no longer dwell in the presence of God. The "Tree of Life" was removed from the garden - not as punishment, but as a failure in faith. That day; Adam and Eve died- not in the earthly sense of what we now call death (which is a mere sleeping John 11: 11-14), but the eternal death which is "Separation from God"

Second mention of "The Tree of Life" - Revelation 22

          In Revelation 22; the Tree is restored to the Earth as a result of our restitution into the garden in heaven. Since Jesus Christ has fulfilled the requirement for the the breaking of our trust with God, we can once again gather there for the renewal of life and relationship. His death on the cross covers  and removes all of our sins and mends the broken relationship between God and humanity - when we accept by faith His substitute for our wrong-doing, The placement of the Tree to the Earth is the act of re-creation: an act that only God can perform. We are welcomed back into full relationship with our Creator Jesus Christ. He truely is our Eternal Redeemer. We dwell with God and His Universe Creation as re-created beings found guiltless because of the act of Jesus on the cross. Jesus Christ died the death of seperation from God for all - so that we could be reunited to God when we believe in and on Him and His Atoning death on that cross. The Tree is the symbol of that life and relationship from God.

           The creation and construction of OUR 16 foot high stained window took place in 1986 - 1987. The creator, Kenneth A Wood. worked in the industrial design and was employed by the Bailey Meter Company for many years. At the time of his retirement, Mr Wood went back to school and began creating stained glass windows. Mr. Wood designed and created large and small windows for churches, business, colleges, and private homes for more thatn 25 years after retirement. Most of his works were 2-5 feet high by 2-3 feet wide in size. He also designed and create larger windows: 5-10 feet high by 4-6 feet wide. The design and creation of "The Tree of Life" was Mr. Wood's largest window.

           This window occupies the South wall of our church at 7480 Mayfield Road in Chesterland, Ohio and measures 16 feet high by 9 feet wide. Please join us on any Sabbath (Saturday) morning in worship to see "The Tree of Life".

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