Windows: Christ at Heart’s Door

“Christ at Heart’s Door” photo by Duncan Hartley

Looking deeper into the history and spirituality of the stained glass windows —

This window in the chapel at Princeton United Methodist Church, is popularly known as ‘Christ at Heart’s Door’ re Revelations 3:20 (Behold, I stand at the door and knock.) Many 19th century British and German paintings had similar subjects — Christ knocking at the door of a home. They offer a puzzle: where is the handle on the door? The answer “you must open your heart from the inside.”

Dr. David Morgan of Valparaiso University in a 1994 exhibition catalog, suggested this particular image was influenced by the painting The Light of the World by William Holman Hunt. “The barely concealed heart produced by the luminance of Christ and the frame of the doorway convey Christ’s call to the soul ensnared in thistles of sin and the darkness of ignorance and willfulness,” he writes. “Yet, as promotional literature points out, ‘all is not hopeless, for there is an opening of grillwork in the door ‘revealing the darkness within,’ so that the individual may see who is at the door, and see that He is good and kind.'” 

If you bring a visitor to the chapel, ask the question, “is there a handle on the door? Why not?” It’s a gentle way to offer a Jesus moment.