The Silent Ministry of St. John

The statement “a picture is worth a thousand words” is certainly true as you walk through the facility of St. John.  Although no words are spoken, the gospel of Jesus is communicated constantly through the various works of art found in both the church and school.

The elegant stained glass windows and Christian symbols surround us as we worship, reminding us about God’s plan for the salvation of the whole world.  And likewise, the school classrooms also depict the life and ministry of the disciples through the crafting of the mosaic panels. 

As you move around the building, stop, and take note, not only of the beauty of the art, but also the powerful messages that are portrayed.

Chrismons of St. John

The word “Chrismons” means Christ’s monogram. St. John first used them in 1968. They were all made by members of our Congregation. All Chrismons are made in combinations of gold and white beads. White is the liturgical color for joy, purity and perfection. The gold represents our Lord’s majesty and glory. The evergreen Christmas tree is a symbol of God’s constancy.
The white lights on the tree represent Christ’s constant presence as the “light to the World”. (*The word Chrismons is copyrighted by the Lutheran Church of the Ascension, Danville, VA.)

Click here to read about the meaning behind each of our Chrismons.



St. John Lutheran Church in Forest Park is home to a one-of-a-kind art collection. Thirteen mosaics depicting the twelve disciples of Jesus Christ hang in the classrooms of the school. Artist Reinhold Marxhausen created the mosaics in 1964 for the school’s dedication. Each of the disciples is represented in an individual mosaic and a final piece titled “The Great Catch” depicts Jesus calling his followers.

From 1951 until his retirement in 1989, Marxhausen taught at Concordia College in Seward, Nebraska. He was the art department’s first chairperson and fully trained artist and, during his tenure, mentored hundreds of students. During this time, Marxhausen gained national recognition by exhibiting his artwork and embarking on a nationwide tour to give talks and hands-on seminars at churches and schools. His most well-known works span the scale from two giant mosaic murals in the Nebraska State Capitol building to the charming, pocket-size sound sculptures called Stardust.

Click on the Mosaic title to see the story it tells.

The mosaic panel in the Narthex illustrates The Great Catch of Fish as written in Luke 5:4-11.
John is the disciple our congregation is named for. Room 203
This mosaic depicts the Disciple Matthew who was a tax collector. Room 202
This panel depicts two events in the life of Philip, based on John 6:2-14 and John 12:20.
Not to be confused with Simon Peter, the Bible does not give us much information about Simon or why he was was known as the "Zealot"
In contrast, the Bible provides a lot of detail about Simon also known as Peter - the Rock.
Andrew was Peter's brother. This mosaic is based on John 1:35-42.
Thomas is often given the nickname “Doubting Thomas” because he doubted the fact that Jesus had really risen from the dead.
The contrasts in this panel remind us of the contrasts in Jame's life.
It is believed that Bartholomew was also known as Nathanael.
This mosaic depicts the power of prayer as recorded in James 5: 17-18.
The artist called this panel the “Missionary Outreach” panel.
The central figure of the panel is a dead tree-the symbol of the betrayer, Judas.



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