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Paxton Window

The upper section shows St. John the Evangelist looking off into the distance, as if lost in a vision. (An evangelist is one who carries the message of “Good News” about Jesus Christ.) John is holding an open book in his left hand and a writing implement in his right. John and his brother James, sons of Zebedee, were members of the original twelve apostles of Jesus. John wrote the Gospel and 3 letters that bear his name in the New Testament. Tradition affirms that he also wrote the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ, a poetic and symbolic apocalyptic account of the visions given to John concerning the return of Jesus Christ at the end of time.

At the very end of John's Gospel, he wrote:

Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name.”                               


John 20:30-31


The lower section is a depiction of the parable of the Sower in the Gospel of Mark, chapter four.

Jesus told a parable-story, saying, “Listen. What do you make of this? A farmer planted seed. As he scattered the seed, some of it fell on the road and birds ate it. Some fell in the gravel; it sprouted quickly but didn’t put down roots, so when the sun came up it withered just as quickly. Some fell in the weeds; as it came up, it was strangled among the weeds and nothing came of it. Some fell on good earth and came up with a flourish, producing a harvest exceeding his wildest dreams.”

Then Jesus explained the story: “The farmer plants the Word of God. Some people are like the seed that falls on the hardened soil of the road. No sooner do they hear the Word than Satan snatches away what has been planted in them.”

“And some are like the seed that lands in the gravel. When they first hear the Word, they respond with great enthusiasm. But there is such shallow soil of character that when the emotions wear off and some difficulty arrives, there is nothing to show for it.”

“The seed cast in the weeds represents the ones who hear the kingdom news but are overwhelmed with worries about all the things they have to do and all the things they want to get. The stress strangles what they heard, and nothing comes of it.”

“But the seed planted in the good earth represents those who hear the Word [of God concerning Jesus Christ], embrace it, and produce a harvest beyond their wildest dreams.”                                       


Mark 4:3-8

The Paxton Window was given in memory of William Miller Paxton (1824-1904), who served as the fourth minister of First Presbyterian Church of Pittsburgh from 1851 to 1865.

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