Monday, September 5, 2011

A Labor Day Salute to the Sowers

Danforth Chapel, Kansas State Univerity

The Biblical parable of the sower resonates with me. I was born on a Kansas farm, then I married a Kansas farmer.

I've seen many stained glass windows that illustrate the parable. This one was in a Philadelphia church I explored while there with Jill for a foods conference in 2007.

I've been in the Danforth Chapel on Kansas State University's campus many times. I love the way the light streaming through the stained glass windows casts a rainbow of light on the small, intimate chapel.

But I had never really noticed the bottom central frame of the stained glass window at the front of the sanctuary until I wandered into the chapel again last week. While Randy attended a meeting, I took my morning walk on the K-State campus.

The window is dominated by the large central panel of Jesus as the Good Shepherd. But more unusual is the modern take on the "sower" panel. The overall-clad farmer is portrayed with a tractor and a modern grain elevator. (In the top photo, the farmer panel is obscured by the cross and the flowers on the altar.)

My quest to find out more about the windows came up empty. I know the windows were donated and imported from Czechoslovakia, England, France, Germany and Italy. But I don't know anything about the artists or why the more modern take on agriculture was part of a window dominated by scenes from Bible times.

A side window features this woman gathering wheat into sheaves. She's certainly not a match to the 20th century farmer on the other window. It's a mystery.

Today is Labor Day. Some people are enjoying their last hurrah at the lake. Others are watching sports on television. Some may be firing up the barbecue grill for a family cookout.

For many of America's farmers, it's just another day to actually labor. It's a day when they continue to feed and water the cattle and hogs that produce those hamburgers and hotdogs for the grill. It's a day when they harvest the grains that go into those multi-grain hamburger buns or service up the drill for the approaching wheat sowing time.

So on this Labor Day, thank you to American farmers who feed the world. And thank you, Lord, as one of those farm families, for the privilege to care for your remarkable Creation.


  1. How fitting that a modern-day farmer is included in Danforth Chapel's stained glass window! I never noticed its presence before, Kim!

    After reading this post, I was curious about its creators. I tried to locate more information about Danforth's stained glass windows, but all I could discover was that they were created by Henry Koeppen and Bill Collard of the T.C. Esser Glass Company in Milwaukee, WI. See this link: http://lcp-press.com/KSUTours/Tour1.htm

    Thank you for a wonderful Labor Day tribute to laboring farmers!

  2. I spent quite a bit of time looking for more info, too. I should have known that the librarian would have come up with more information than I did! Thanks!