Top Panel of the Left Light
Abel, Melchizedech, Abraham and Noah

Top panel of left light

At the top of the left window we have four figures from the early chapters of Genesis: Abel, Abraham and Noah, with the figure of Melchizedek above. Maynard talks about these figures in his sermon of October 31, 1948, where he makes the point that the stories we have about these founders and heroes of the Jewish people are often a mixture of myth and legend. These stories were used as the vehicle for important religious truths, but that does not make the stories history. Nor are they presented as history. Maynard puts it this way:

Now, in our window we have figures that lie right back in the first days. Very important figures, because given to us as pictures for our learning by God's Spirit of wisdom. Whether they are like the Prodigal Son, figures in the mind of the Teacher, or whether they are like the widow who attracted Our Lord's notice as she threw two mites into the Temple Treasury, it matters nothing. If they were not true in the only sense that matters to us, they would not be where they are.

To the left we have the figure of Abel, standing with his shepherd's crook and a lamb that he is about to sacrifice to the Lord in his arms. "And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering" (Gen 4:4.) However, the Lord did not respect the offering of Cain, Abel's brother, and it is made clear that the difference lay in the actions of the two: "If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lies at the door." (Gen 4:7.)

On the other side of this panel stands the figure of Noah, looking patriarchal, holding his staff and raising his other hand in blessing. "Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord" (Gen 6:8), so Noah was instructed to build an ark. Since he was faithful in this task as in all else, he and his family were saved from the flood.

The central figure of Abram (Abraham) is depicted kneeling, his arms outstretched in acceptance and surrender, beneath the figure of Melchizedek, who bestows a blessing on Abram:

Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth. (Gen 14:18-19.)
In the New Testament epistle to the Hebrews, the kingly priesthood of Melchizedek is taken to prefigure the priesthood of Christ, and the offerings of bread and wine prefigure the elements used in the Church's offering of the Mass.

Abraham, then, is the founding patriarch "and he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness." (Gen 15:6.) "And the Lord said .... Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him." (Gen 18:18.) This commendation and blessing follows because "I have singled him out to command his sons and his household after him to maintain the way of the Lord by just and upright living." (Gen 18:19).

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