There are three wood carvings that grace the wall behind the altar. The carvings were designed and created by Dr. Arnold Flaten of St. Olaf College.
The Mystique of Continuing Creation
The first carving is installed on the upper right.
Symbolism: the Creation
God removed the curtain of darkness revealing the Creative Power in the hands of God. Seven shafts of light represent the seven days of the week. The first day there was light and darkness; day and night, and then He made heaven and earth the second day. The third day he brought forth the vegetation. The fourth day He made the Universe – Sun, Moon and the Stars. The fifth day He made all living creatures, fowl, fish, and whales. The sixth day He said “Let earth ring forth the living creatures after his kind – cattle, beasts, and creeping things in pairs. He created man in His own image and gave him a helpmate, Eve, to have dominion over all the Universe and said to all these be fruitful and multiply and said it was very good. The seventh day God ended His work and rested and sanctified it. Genesis I: The Compass suggests design. It is the most revealing of the three carvings – study it and see what is says to you.
The Gift of Reconciliation
The second carving is installed on the left, behind the pulpit.
Man fell by the fruit of the tree, thus it is only fitting that his salvation should be secured on the tree of the cross. One crossbeam extends into the heavens, yet the cross is firmly rooted in the earth.
Serpent: The symbol of the Principalities and Powers to which man often submits himself. Because the Resurrection asserts the Lordship of Christ, man need never submit himself to any power except the living God.
Grace: The word written on the right side reminds us that our redemption is entirely by Grace. It is a free “gift” completely independent of any worthiness or value on our part.
Three men: The three men at the left in postures of subjection indicate the way we are to receive the gift of God’s Grace, with humility, awe, and thankfulness.
The third carving is installed on the lower left above the baptismal font.
Symbolism: Holy Spirit
The dove is the symbol of the coming of the Holy Spirit with the open hands of those seeking and receiving the Holy Spirit. Peter said, “Each one of you must turn from sin, return to God, and be baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of you sins; then you also shall receive the gift, the Holy Spirit. Are we ready for the harvest in the last day”?