"Your Word is Lamp unto My Feet." Stained glass window in shades of blues with flying angel and candelabra by Marc Chagall/ Charles Marq. Pfarrkirche St. Stephan, Mainz, Germany, 2016.
“Your Word is Lamp unto My Feet.” Stained glass window by Marc Chagall/ Charles Marq. Pfarrkirche St. Stephan, Mainz, Germany, 2016.

St. Stephan’s church in Mainz, Germany has stunning stained glass windows. The church burned on February 27, 1945 and Marc Chagall designed most of the current windows in the late 1970’s.

The windows show love stories of all kinds: Colorful people and angels float in a sea of blue glass. In light of the Holocaust, I was especially touched by the window of Abraham pleading with three angels to spare Sodom and Gomorrah.

“The windows in the church of St. Stephen were intended by the artist as a token of friendship between France and Germany, a pledge of international understanding and of the peace which we all need so badly.”

–Klaus Mayer [Genoveva Nitz, translator]. St. Stephan in Mainz, 8th rev. English edition. Regensburg, Germany: Verlag Schnell & Steiner GmbH Regensburg, 2015.

Marc Chagall was 91 years old when he designed the first windows. But when he was 98, he created several more and gave them to the church as a gift. He died a few months later. That’s a life full of art and faith, generosity and forgiveness.

An awe-inspiring role model. I don’t think I would be strong enough to be this generous after the destruction and the grief of World War II. I hope this for us all: that we find many ways to reach out in friendship, while it’s still easy.

Have you used your skills or talents to bring people together in friendship? Was it a special cake or meal? A painting or an ice sculpture? A story or poem? A replacement water pump? I’d love to hear about it.

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4 Responses

  1. This example of Chagall blows me away.
    As a writer, I often find it hard to believe my work has an impact on anyone. It takes so long to produce something, the act of which itself can be isolating, and publishing is a long endeavor as well… Sometimes it’s a relief to do something imminently practical in the meantime: I especially like taking a meal to a family going through illness or adjusting to a new baby. It’s the polar opposite of writing a novel: you cook this meal and immediately drop it off to someone who needs it. This sort of thing can keep me going.

    1. Well expressed! I agree totally. I’m inspired by your perspective on how to have little “impacts” while working towards something that feels so Don Quixote-like. Thanks!

  2. Hello,
    I’m trying to find a full picture of this window.
    Do you have it? do you know where i could find one ?
    Thank you anyway

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