This is probably one of the oddest church windows you’ll ever see.
That’s right. Those guys are sitting on the shoulders of the other two guys. And I’m only showing two of the windows. There are a couple more as well showing the same setup.
You find them at the Cathedral in Chartres, France. On the left is St. Luke sitting on the shoulders of the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah. On the right it’s St. Mark sitting on Daniel’s shoulders.
The windows illustrate a remark by Bernard of Chartres, chancellor of the cathedral school in the early 12th century. He had remarked that “we are dwarfs but we sit on the shoulders of giants.” Those who went before prepared our way and we benefit by understanding even more clearly what they saw first. We have that unearned privilege of understanding simply because of our place in line and in time.
I’ve thought about that as our church Home Grown Mission Week kicks off. It works out in part as an introduction to this world and the work God has prepared for us to do in it. Our young missionaries will follow behind more than a century of pioneers, families and taxpayers who have created our community of Lakeland. Our young missionaries will get to add several small touches of kindness and assistance around town: planting trees, cleaning up lawns, helping to distribute school supplies. Who knows, it will serve them as a practice run for later going out even further into the world to share the love of Jesus.
Meanwhile, they’ll have contributed to the history of our neighborhoods, preparing a community for others to enjoy in the days to come.
God brings us into a family that is made up of more than the people of our own time. We walk with the giants who were here ahead of us, who left a prepared field for us to enjoy and harvest and hand on.