Just a Thought or Two

The Window Fight

Author: Mark Fenstermacher
September 10, 2021

As we worked on the new sanctuary we were building, we got to the design stage of a bold, rather modern-looking, circular stained-glass window.

We agreed that the text for this rose window would be Revelation 22: “Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb, through the middle of the street of the city.” As the artist created designs, we were all thrilled with the colorful window that would reflect light all through the sanctuary of that city church.

Here is what we could not agree on: Should the river be flowing vertically, from the top of the window toward the bottom? Or should the window be oriented so the river of life was coming from left to right, moving horizontally?

The debate went on meeting after meeting. It was a big deal to us, and those on each side of the issue had good reasons for their position. I myself argued with conviction and made theological references. It was intense enough that there were sidebar conversations in the hallway and parking lot. More than a few of us wondered if this artistic conflict would pull us apart. Some of us had known one another for nearly 20 years, and yet we could feel this disagreement threatening to unravel us.

About one year ago,  I returned to that congregation in Elkhart to preach. I entered the sanctuary, soaked up the beauty of the place, and looked up at the window. For the life of me, I could not remember which position I had taken on the orientation of the window.

How many holy, deep moments, how many things of kingdom consequence, did I miss as I chased issues, decisions, and projects that didn’t really matter all that much?

This Sunday we will conclude our series on the Psalms by looking at Psalm 1. It is a wisdom psalm. The psalmist invites us to put down our roots in the wisdom and way of God. Which means, in part, not letting little things sidetrack us from the things that really matter to God.

As worshipers gathered and the church staff buzzed around preparing for worship, I offered my private prayer of confession to God for the times when I turned little things into big things. It can sometimes take years for the angels to show us the river of life.


It’s a joy to walk the Jesus way with you. Join us on Sunday for worship either in-person or on-line at 8:45 a.m. (Sanctuary) or 10:45 a.m. (Chapter Two in the Fellowship Hall). Looking for a place to connect? Try one of our adult groups:

  • Front Porch is designed for people who want to drop in, with each Sunday being a new topic 

  • Cover to Cover is a gathering where we read through books that feed our soul and help us live faith

  • Breakfast Club is for the parents of young children

New options. New groups. For you and the people you know in Northeast Indiana who are looking for community and connection.

Thank you for masking when in the building, practicing social distancing, and using hand sanitizer as our county moves into the category RED because of the Delta variant. Please, if you do not have an underlying condition that would disqualify you from receiving the vaccine, get the shot this week!

I’m looking forward to our RE-LAUNCH SUNDAY this weekend.

Grace and peace,
Pastor Mark

Five Critical Items That We Believe

Unconditional Love & Acceptance
We believe in the sacred worth of every person and offer God’s non-judgmental love to all.

Extravagant Hospitality
We believe we should expand our circle of care to include all our neighbors welcoming them and showing them the love of Jesus.

Connecting through Relationships
We believe in creating a community space for all people to share, connect and participate

Spiritual Growth and Transformation
We believe that through God’s grace everyone should have the opportunity to grow closer to God through worship, learning and to be changed by experiencing God’s love.

We believe we are called to reach out to our community and to the world in hands on service; and that everyone is needed to actively participate in the ministry and mission of the church.


First United Methodist Church
1203 E. Seventh Street | Auburn, IN 46706
office@auburnumc.church | 260.925.0885