January 17, 2020
Baptism of Jesus
This beautiful stained-glass window is found in the Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon in the downtown of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. It is a testament to the world-wide telling of the story of Jesus, and to the ability of art to tell a story without using any words. No matter where one lives, or what language one speaks, one knows the story that is being told through the beautiful shapes and colors of the glass.
A stained-glass window by Lorin firm from Chartres inside
Saigon Our Lady Basilica: the baptism of Jesus.
By pham xuan nghi - Flickr: Nhà Thờ Đức Bà Sài Gòn 002,
CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27720455
Many of the elements of the window are familiar and readily identifiable - the Jordan river, John the Baptist, Jesus, the dove descending upon the scene. What I am especially drawn to is the hand of blessing that John lifts above Jesus, and John’s upturned eyes as though he is in prayer with the One who is sending the dove. Jesus projects a sense of humility, expressed through his facial expression, and a sense of modesty through covering himself with the red cloak.
While we obviously don’t hear the voice of God offering approval, the incredible colors that symbolize God and the realm of heaven do themselves speak volumes. The upper portion of the window is indeed one of the most intriguing parts of the work.
As one views this beautiful creation, it prompts a wondering about how else we can tell stories like this without using so many words.
Welcome to my website. I hope you will discover a connection to the life of small churches, and the richness that the arts can bring to these churches.