Whilst in Germany, Lioba was entrusted with great responsibility and she can rightly claim to be one of the great holy women of the Anglo-Saxon church.
Lioba died in Germany and her final resting place is now behind an altar in a church dedicated to Mary and the virgins of Christ in Petersburg near Fulda.
Our stained glass windows tell us the stories of Christ and also the lives of the saints. They are a narrative and we are fortunate to have some fine windows in the churches of the benefice.
I’m reminded of some words of scripture:
Through a glass darkly “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known.” 1 Corinthians 13:12
Stained glass windows… these coloured icons add beauty and interest to our churches, depicting Biblical scenes and the saints who have done God’s will down through the ages. All these scenes in glass-paned picture books that first provided instruction for the way of faith, in an age when many could neither read nor write. They shine out in reds and blues, greens and gold, illuminated by the daytime sunlight, and by electricity when night falls.
The varied colours tell their story: white for purity; purple for kingship; red for the martyrs’ blood. As we gaze, the lessons of Scripture become inscribed upon our memories. We revere the saints for their example of courage in the face of persecution, their faithfulness in times of temptation. Such is their charisma, we might forget that even saints begin their lives as helpless babes, equally vulnerable and with the same need for love and nurture as you or me. Some of them seem almost to have attained saintly status despite, rather than because of, their worldly achievements. Think of Mary Magdalene, St Peter and St Paul: one a fallen woman, one who denied Christ, and another a persecutor of Christians. Think of St Boniface and his courage and devotion… of St Lioba and her holiness and wisdom too. But it wasn’t human accomplishment that immortalised the saints in glass, but their response of faith, unconditionally given, and mirroring the unreserved love God showed in meeting them where they were. In the same way, God reveals Himself to us to awaken in us that same unconditional self-offering so that we might live for him.