The First Baptist Nashville Sanctuary windows, designed by Goode P. Davis, are abstract conceptions on the theme “Divine Revelation.” The eternal God wants man to know Him and, therefore, He has revealed Himself to man. God has revealed Himself in nature and in Christ. In these two major streams of divine revelation, one is natural and the other, supernatural; one is general and the other, special.
The tall windows on the south side depict God's revelation in nature, and the corresponding windows on the north side represent God's supernatural revelation in Christ.
The Rose Windows
The west rose window introduces the divine revelation theme and uses colors based on Revelation 4 and 5. The scene is the throne of God set in heaven. The one who is upon the throne is to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone. And round about the throne is a rainbow. Before the throne are four and twenty elders, and in the midst of the throne is the slain lamb. It is the slain Lamb that the four and twenty elders have an approach to the holy and just God.
The center of the window is in varying tones of red symbolizing the justice of God (a sardine stone). The diamond-like spots throughout the window (jasper) symbolize the holiness of God. The sections of red in the outer perimeter point to the sacrifice of the Lamb.
The south window suggests the liveliness and excitement of nature. It has a lively green center and the surrounding circular area includes cool colors - blues, violets, and pale greens. The colors in the outer perimeter feature light, warm tones - yellow, orange and chartreuse. Pink, violet and blue appear in small accents.
The north window depicts Christ. The blue center represents His heavenly origin. The purple is symbolic of His royalty and priesthood. The scarlet represents His sacrifice. The gold shows the presence of God in Christ. The green is symbolic of eternal hope in Christ.
The South Windows
The first vertical window on the south side and to the right of the entrance depicts night. The moonlight and starlight follow the setting of the sun. This night window is significant not only because of its beautiful design but its relationship to the many meaningful experiences recorded in the Bible which occurred at night.
The second window represents day. It features an extensive range of colors that are light and bright with the top area predominantly gold and yellow to suggest sunshine. Drops of golden sunlight can be seen throughout the window. The rich variety of colors suggest water, vegetation, fruits, flowers and all of the richness of life under the warm, life-giving rays of the sun.
The third window depicts the sea. Dark grayish blues and greens and touches of coral are dominant in the bottom part of the window. These colors gradually give way to lighter blues and greens and lavenders as the design climbs to the surface to meet the horizon and open air. This design conveys a sense of vast mystery and dark gloom in the lower depths.
The fourth window represents land. It features colors commonly found in luxuriant nature. The earth colors near the bottom give way to greens, yellows, and touches of orange that suggest rich vegetation and all kinds of life. The scattered areas of blue at the top of the window suggest the sky and give aesthetic color balance.
The North Windows
The first vertical window from the entrance on the north side represents Abraham and promise. The winding path of light blue that leads upward is symbolic of the faith of Abraham as he heard the call of God in Ur of Chaldees and went out not knowing where he was going. The green is symbolic of hope. The sword in hand at the bottom of the window tells of the spirit and faith of Abraham when he was willing to offer up his son, Isaac. The touches of red and orange suggest sacrificial fire.
The second window depicts Moses and deliverance. It features browns and tans in the lower part which are reminiscent of the desert wilderness. As the composition rises, the colors gradually become greener and more olive, and the burning bush appears. God spoke to Moses in the burning bush and called him to go down into Egypt and deliver his people. In the upper background, there are the outlines of Mt. Sinai. The fulfillment of the promise to Abraham required the giving of the law and the experiences of Israel as a nation.
The third window represents the birth of Christ. The chief feature of this window is the exploding star at the top with its streams of light flowing downward. The lower part shows a horizontal streak of lavender suggesting the separation of heaven from earth. The heavenly light of the star may be seen in the bottom section of the window which depicts the birth scene. The purple typifies His royalty and the red anticipates His cross.
The fourth window depicts the death of Christ. Dark grays in the upper portion represent the darkness that invaded the cross where Christ died. The streams of red tell of the great suffering and sacrifice of our Savior. The gold around the cross and throughout the window symbolizes the presence of God in the death of Christ. It is a dramatic and powerful recording the most momentous event in history.
The East Window
Resurrection, New Life, Eternal Glory
The east window over the baptistery is a grand summation of the divine revelation. It is the largest and most imposing of the windows. The stream of general revelation in nature and the stream of special revelation in Christ come together.
The bottom portion is dark in color with simple forms, pointing back to the beginning of the world.
As the composition moves upward, the sluggish forms and gloomy colors give way to brighter, livelier and more active tones and patterns suggesting the increasing complexity and intricacy of life. Purples and dark blues blend into lighter sky blues and pale greens, with scattered accents of reds, magentas, yellows and gold adding liveliness to the composition. The reds throughout this window symbolize the plan of God for the ages.
The dominant theme of this window is the empowered church of our Lord. In baptism there is the picture of the resurrection of Christ and the resurrection of the believer to walk in newness of life.
The burst of glory at the top of the window symbolizing the glory of the resurrection - Christ's and ours - goes to the very top of the window. It represents the glory of the new and eternal life which we have in our risen Lord. Because of the resurrection, the Holy Spirit came to the church enabling her to carry on in the spirit and power of the risen Christ and point men to Him who reigns forever and ever.