The Good Samaritan (ca. 1906)
Inspiration for the Window
The title is based on a parable in Luke (chapter 10, vs. 29-37) when Christ was asked, “…Who is my neighbor?” What followed was a story about a traveling Samaritan, a foreigner who paused to give aid and comfort to a robbery victim that other passersby had ignored.
But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denari and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:29-37)
About the Window
Colors are vivid. The white robed Samaritan comforts the robbery victim, beaten and abandoned on a path leading from the city gate where other travelers would have seen him. The Samaritan’s walking stick and leather pouches are placed against the brown tree trunk. Note that pieces of opaque black glass are dispersed among the green leaves. The Good Samaritan’s opalescent robe is iridescent—a bluish glow emanates from folds near the bottom. What is the object next to the feet of the red robed man?
At the bottom of the window are the words
"Insomuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My breathern ye have done it onto Me."
Given in Memory of The Reverend Reynold Marvin Kirby
The window was given in memory of The Rev. Reynold Marvin Kirby, rector from 1881 to 1906, who oversaw construction of Trinity chapel, tower, front façade and rose window. Kirby was a native of Brownville in Jefferson County who graduated from Hobart College in Geneva, NY, in 1865. He graduated from General Theological Seminary in New York City in 1869 and assisted at St. Mark’s Cathedral in Salt Lake City, Utah Territory, before coming to Trinity Church as rector in January 1881.
Here we see a man from Jerusalem – which is visible in the distance – after he is waylaid by bandits. He discovers the harsh reality that you cannot presume on the decency and kindness of strangers. As he lies unconscious, he is ignored by two more strangers, who are unmoved by his plight and continue on their way. Then another stranger comes along and recognizes their common humanity – he sees him not at a victim, or an inconvenience, but as a neighbor – and he responds with compassion. As Jesus says, go and do likewise.
Tiffany has depicted the Samaritan in white like Jesus – holding the victim tenderly in his arms. In this, our window reflects a classic interpretation that sees the Samaritan not just an example for us to follow (though he certainly is that), but also as a symbolic representation of Jesus himself, who comes to the our rescue, restores our well-being and pays the necessary price for our salvation.