The below article was written by Dr. Eugene Murphey and was published in The Tower newsletter of June 2005.
The dictionary definition of a miracle, derived from the Latin word miraculum, is ‘an event or action that apparently contradicts known scientific laws: as the miracles in the Bible.’ The New Testament has recorded many of the remarkable and miraculous actions of Jesus during his earthly ministry, and two of them are the subject of our next two stained glass windows. These are the first two panels at the front of the sanctuary on the west (right hand) side.
The first panel depicts the scene when Jesus was preaching to a crowd of about five thousand people on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee. Toward evening he realized that many were hungry and had brought little or no food with them, so he asked his disciples to survey the crowd and find whatever food was available. Disappointedly, they reported finding only a young lad who has brought five barley bread loaves and two small fish, hardly enough to feed even two people., much less this multitude. Without doubt or hesitation Jesus took the meager supply, blessed it and distributed portions to all his disciples; they, in turn, fed all the people on the hillside. None of this divine abundance was wasted; Jesus had the disciples gather all the remaining scraps of food, which filled twelve baskets. The people were so amazed by the miraculous act that they proclaimed. ‘Surely, this is the Prophet who was to come into the world!’ (John 6:14). The window shows the multitude behind Jesus as he accepts loaves and fishes from the young lad. The symbol at the bottom of the panel is the sun setting on this wonderful event.
The adjoining window shows two more of the miracles Jesus performed during the early part of his ministry. Behind him in the figure of a woman who had suffered from a bleeding illness for twelve years. As the crowds pressed upon him, she touched the edge of his garment and was immediately healed. Jesus was instantly aware that his healing power had gone out to her. When she confessed what had happened, He said, ‘My daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace.’ (Luke 8:48). The window combines this miracle with that of a crippled man who kneels before Jesus and is also healed.
The medical symbol of a caduseus appears at the bottom of the panel to signify the healing ministry of Jesus.
It is of special interest that this stained glass panel was dedicated to the Feemster family and especially to both Doctors Lucian Carl Feemster, Senior, and Junior, who were prominent surgeons in Tupelo during the 1900’s, and whose family home previously occupied the southeast corner of our present church property. This house provided extra Sunday school rooms and a social parlor for the church before construction of our Fellowship Hall. The later home of Dr. Feemster, Jr., on the northeast corner of the property behind the wall still serves our scout troop.
-Eugene M. Murphey, M.D.