The New Jerusalem window

Bellshill Central Church is fortunate to have many beautiful stained glass windows.

The four corner windows were gifted in memory of the Blackie Family, benefactors of the Church for many years and were dedicated on 14 October 1973. These were designed by the renowned Gordon Webster with the leadwork being undertaken by Neil Hutchison.

The pictures displayed in the windows help you focus on the stories which lie behind and which, in fact, tell the whole story of the Bible. You are welcome to visit the Church, look at the windows and then read in one of the Pew Bibles the whole story depicted in each window.

The New Jerusalem

Fourth window on the east or left side as you enter from the main door

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This window is quite complex and takes its theme from the Book of Revelations (page 313 onward in the New Testament section of the Pew Bible). The themes depicted are repeated in various forms throughout Revelations and it is worth spending some time reading the book for yourself.

The window is split into six panes and here are some suggestions for the verses which relate to each pane:

Top two panes
The new Jerusalem which will come down out of heaven from my God; or I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God – Chapter 3 v 12, Chapter 21 v 1

Right side top and centre
There in heaven was a throne with someone sitting on it.  The Greek letters alpha and omega are represented.  Alpha (Α or α) and omega (Ω or ω) are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, and a title of Christ and God in the Book of Revelation – Chapter 4 v 2

Bottom two panes
All around the throne there was a rainbow – Chapter 4 v 3

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Top right side
He had 7 stars in his right hand – Chapter 1 v 16

Top right side
Don’t be afraid, I am the first and the last. I am the living one! I was dead but now I am alive for ever and ever. Chapter 1 v 17

Two Centre Panes
From the throne came flashes of lightning. In front of the throne seven lighted torches were burning – Chapter 4 v 5

Bottom two panes
Also in front of the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal Chapter 4 v 6

Bottom right side
Surrounding the throne on each of its sides were four living creatures. The first one looked like a lion – Chapter 4 v 7

Bottom Left side
The second looked like a bull – Chapter 4 v 7

Bottom Left side
The third had a face like a human face – Chapter 4 v 7

Bottom right side
The fourth looked like an eagle in flight – Chapter 4 v 7

Top Left and Centre
I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth – Chapter 7 v 1

What Is New Jerusalem?

The Bible’s answer

“New Jerusalem,” an expression that appears twice in the Bible, is a symbolic city that represents the group of Jesus’ followers who go to heaven to rule with him in God’s Kingdom. (Revelation 3:12; 21:2) The Bible shows that this group can also be called the bride of Christ.

Keys to identifying New Jerusalem

New Jerusalem is in heaven. Each time the Bible mentions New Jerusalem, it is said to come down from heaven, where angels guard the city’s gates. (Revelation 3:12; 21:2, 10, 12) Also, the city’s great size proves that it could not be on earth. It is a cube measuring “12,000 stadia,” or “furlongs,” around. * (Revelation 21:16; King James Version) Its sides would thus be almost 560 kilometres (350 mi) high, extending into space.

New Jerusalem is made up of a group of Jesus’ followers, the bride of Christ. New Jerusalem is called “the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” (Revelation 21:9, 10) In this symbolic description, the Lamb refers to Jesus Christ. (John 1:29; Revelation 5:12) “The Lamb’s wife,” Christ’s bride, represents Christians who will be united with Jesus in heaven. The Bible likens the relationship between Jesus and these Christians to that of a husband and wife. (2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:23-25) In addition, the foundation stones of New Jerusalem are inscribed with “the 12 names of the 12 apostles of the Lamb.” (Revelation 21:14) This detail helps to confirm the identity of New Jerusalem, since Christians who are called to life in heaven are “built up on the foundation of the apostles and prophets.”—Ephesians 2:20.

New Jerusalem is part of a government. Ancient Jerusalem was the capital of Israel, the place where King David, his son Solomon, and their descendants ruled “on Jehovah’s throne.” (1 Chronicles 29:23) Jerusalem, called “the holy city,” thus represented God’s rulership in the family line of David. (Nehemiah 11:1) New Jerusalem, also called “the holy city,” is made up of those who join Jesus in heaven “to rule as kings over the earth.”—Revelation 5:9, 10; 21:2.

New Jerusalem brings blessings to people on earth. New Jerusalem is depicted as “coming down out of heaven from God,” showing that God uses it to affect matters outside of heaven. (Revelation 21:2) This expression links New Jerusalem with God’s Kingdom, which God uses to accomplish his will “as in heaven, also on earth.” (Matthew 6:10) God’s purpose for people on earth includes these blessings:

Removal of sin. “A river of water of life” flows from New Jerusalem and supports “trees of life” that are “for the healing of the nations.” (Revelation 22:1, 2) This physical and spiritual healing will remove sin and enable people to gain perfect life, as God originally intended.—Romans 8:21.

Good relations between God and humankind. Sin has alienated humans from God. (Isaiah 59:2) The removal of sin will allow for the complete fulfillment of this prophecy: “The tent of God is with mankind, and he will reside with them, and they will be his people. And God himself will be with them.”—Revelation 21:3.

The end of suffering and death. By means of his Kingdom, God “will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore.”—Revelation 21:4.

The Christmas Window

Bellshill Central Parish Church is extremely fortunate to have many beautiful stained glass windows.

The four central windows were gifted by Matthew Corbett, in memory of his son Sergeant James Brownlie Corbett of the Royal Air Force, who was shot down and killed over Holland on 26 May 1943. These windows were designed and fitted by the Abbey Studio under the direction of Frank Ryan. They were dedicated on 7 October 1962.


The Christmas Window.

second window on east or left side as you enter from the main door

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The whole Christmas Story is told in this window.  At the top left hand side, the Angel Gabriel can be seen speaking to Mary: (See Luke Chapter 1, verse 26; starting on Page 73 in the Pew Bible)

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“The angel came to her and said, ‘Peace be with you!  The Lord is with you and has greatly blessed you!’  The angel said to her, ‘Don’t be afraid, Mary; God has been gracious to you.  You will become pregnant and give birth to a son and you will name him Jesus.”

The window pane below that moves on to Luke Chapter 2, beginning at Verse 8.  This is a section of the Christmas story which many ‘older people’ can recite by heart using the King James Translation:

 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.   And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.   For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.   And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.   And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.

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At the top right hand side of the window, we see Mary and baby Jesus as the shepherds would have found them (verse 16).

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Below that, the story moves to Matthew Chapter 2, verse 10 (page 4 in the Pew Bible) where we read about the wise men (or kings) following the star until they found Jesus.

“When they saw it (the star) how happy they were; what joy was theirs!  It went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was.  They went into the house and when they saw the child with his mother Mary, they knelt down and worshipped him.  They brought out their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.”

The bottom pane of the window shows the escape into Egypt.  We remember how Joseph was warned in a dream that Herod planned to kill Jesus.  Matthew 2, verse 14:

“Joseph got up, took the child and his mother and left during the night for Egypt where he stayed until Herod died.”

 

The Last Supper

This weekend, Sunday 9th December, we celebrate communion as part of our morning service. We celebrate Communion quarterly at present, in March, June, September and December – on the second Sundays at 11 o’clock.

There’s many different reasons as to why many Reformed Presbyterian churches observe a pattern similar to Bellshill Central Parish Church of Scotland as to the frequency of these services

  1. Presbyterian tradition choose to have communion only quarterly or monthly is they fear the sacrament will lose its special quality.
  2. In centuries past, people could partake of the Lord’s Supper only if they had a communion token or communion card. They earned these by attending preparatory classes (before each communion observance) or passing catechism tests and having elders approve their conduct and beliefs. For Christians from this background, having communion every week can seem to require an impossible standard of preparation.
  3. The Disruption of 1843 caused a great division with the church in Scotland. As a result some 400 (plus) ministers of the church of Scotland joined the Free Church. This resulted in a shortage of “ordained” ministers in both the Established and Free Church congregations. One affect of this was that communion was celebrated less often as ministers had to visit congregations in a rotational basis for a time. In many congregations this in effect meant celebration of communion 3-4 times per year. However, congregations nowadays celebrate communion with much great frequency, some weekly, some monthly, some quarterly, and some on special days in the Christian year such as Easter, Pentecost, Christmas etc. In addition to our four quarterly services, we also have communion on Easter Sunday, Pentecost and Maunday Thursday of Holy Week.

There are four permanent items on display in our church that remind us of communion.

The first is a depiction of the Last Supper in a lovely tapestry which is found in the West corner of the church. It was gifted in memory of David and Mary Inglis.

Underneath this tapestry is a glass display cabinet. Within it are two communion flagons from 1891. The term ‘flagon’ dates from the 17th century and was used to describe any vessel for serving wine. In church, the flagon replenished the communion cups.

In the main window behind the organ pipes – The MacDonald memorial window – the left panel commemorates an early communion service at the very start of the congregation in 1873. A gold communion cup is shown.

Finally, located centrally within the choir box is the communion table. Inscribed upon it is the “This do this in remembrance of me” found at Luke 22:19. These words were spoken by Jesus himself at the last supper.

Right before Jesus’ death, he instituted a special meal for his church to observe. Historically, this meal was called the Eucharist, which means “thanksgiving.” Often today we call it communion or the Lord’s Supper. Although churches differ on how frequently we should take communion, the universal consensus among Christians is that this meal is an important part of our faith.

When Jesus was reclining with his disciples, after breaking some bread and distributing it to them he said, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” (Lk. 22:19) Many Christians have taken this to mean that during communion, we are to do our best to recollect the story of Christ’s death. We remember the gospel, and as we’re reminded, the gospel stirs our hearts in worship.

When we celebrate communion we replace the blue table cloth, pulpit fall and lectern falls with white cloth/falls. Until only a few years ago, we also dressed the church for communion. This was by having white pew cloths on the hymn boards of each pew, in effect creating a table for everyone.

The tradition of communion linens began in the early centuries of Christianity. They are representative of the devotion and purity of God’s Faithful, as well as the linens in which the body of Christ was wrapped when He was laid in the tomb.

Easter Sunday window

Bellshill Central Church is fortunate to have many beautiful stained glass windows.
The four central windows were gifted by Matthew Corbett, in memory of his son Sergeant James Brownlie Corbett of the Royal Air Force, who was shot down and killed over Holland on 26 May 1943. These windows were designed by the Abbey Studio and dedicated on 7 October 1962.

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The pictures displayed in the windows help you focus on the stories which lie behind and which, in fact, tell the whole story of the Bible. You are welcome to visit the Church, look at the windows and then read in one of the Pew Bibles the whole story depicted in each window.


Easter Sunday

(second window on the west or right side of the Church as you enter from the main door)

Like all the central windows, this window was dedicated in memory of James Brownlie Corbett, a young man who was killed during the Second World War.

At the bottom of the left hand pane of the window the Boys Brigade logo can be seen. It seems likely, therefore, that James was an active member of the BB before his untimely death.  The BB Company of the former Macdonald Memorial Church was the 2nd Bellshill Company. Above that, a peacock can be seen with its resplendent plumage.

Apparently, ancient Greeks believed that the flesh of the peafowl did not decay after death and so it became a symbol of immortality. This symbolism was adopted by early Christianity and thus many early Christian paintings and mosaics show the peacock, particularly those relating to Easter.

 

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At the top of the right hand side of the window, there is a picture of a lamb, often used as a symbol of Christ.Below that the Church of Scotland logo of the Burning Bush and the words can be clearly seen Nec tamen consumebatur, translated as: ͚But it was not consumed. (Exodus 3; 2 – Pew Bible page 58)

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After the despair of Good Friday, this window shows the joy of Easter Sunday. Read about it in Matthew 28 (page 44 of the Pew Bible)
On the left side the soldiers can be seen lying on the ground beside the stone which had been at the mouth of the tomb. Above them Christ has arisen and can be seen with two angels at His side. ͚The guards were so afraid that they became like dead men.͛
On the right side, Mary Magdalene and ͚the other Mary͛ can be seen carrying spices to the tomb, being met by an angel. ͚The angel spoke to the women. ͞You must not be afraid; I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; He has been raised just as He said.͟ The women left the tomb filled with joy and ran to tell his disciples.͛

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