St. Peter's Edina Sanctuary
Church Facility

100_1672The words IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER AND OF THE SON AND OF THE HOLY SPIRIT are inscribed in Latin on the ring above the altar at the heart of the church, for the Trinity, the one true God, is the object of our worship and love.  The unending ring upon which these words are inscribed suggests the eternity of God and His all-encompassing love.  Placed at the center of the church it emphasizes that by reason of the atoning work of Jesus Christ, “God is in the midst of us.”

The Church of Jesus Christ is built upon the solid foundation of the apostles and prophets, the Bible. Jesus Christ is the chief Cornerstone. People gather in the sanctuary to “show forth the praises of Him who has called them out of darkness into His marvelous light.”  This is suggested by the windows that face out in every direction of the compass.  This allows “the heavens to declare God’s glory and the firmament to reveal His handiwork” but also reminds us of Christ’s great commission to go and teach all nations, to let the Gospel light shine before all men.

The nave of the church is octagonal.  This is a symbol of regeneration, derived from the fact that eight souls were saved from the Flood.  Christ said, “Unless a person is born again, he cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.”  How can I be born again? Is a logical question.  Christ’s answer is presented in the large central cross rising out of the altar.  In John 3 Christ says, “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.”

The altar at the foot of the cross is the table from which the grace earned for us by Jesus on the cross is dispensed to the congregation in the Sacrament of Holy Communion.  In its marble top five Maltese crosses are engraved to symbolize the five wounds of Christ, in His hands, feet and side.  It stands on three marble steps, symbolic of the Trinity.  There are seven candles on the altar because the number seven symbolizes completeness (creation) or perfection, which is ours by faith in Jesus Christ.

We baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  The font, therefore, contains the creative hand symbol for the Father, the cross for the Son, and the dove for the Holy Spirit.  “Whoever believes and is baptized shall be saved.”  The baptismal font, the pulpit, and the altar emphasize the centrality of Baptism, Holy Communion, and the Word of God (the three means of grace) in Lutheran Worship.

dsc00408The circular seating around the altar gives beautiful expression to the fellowship of saints (believers in Christ) and the family of God as we gather around the table of the Lord.  The location of the altar in the center of the congregation accents the doctrine of the royal priesthood of all believers, according to which we hold that all believers have the privilege of direct access to God, through Jesus.

The central ceiling grill with its eight points suggests the eight gifts of the Holy Spirit found in this benediction:  “May God grant you His Holy Spirit, the Spirit of wisdom and knowledge, of grace and prayer, of power and strength, of sanctification and the fear of God.”  Finally, the beautiful, impressive roof structure is shaped as a crown – the Church of Christ, King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  This reminds us of a beautiful jewel, symbol of the Church triumphant, beautiful and glorious. (Revelation 21)  “This is none other but the House of God, and this is the gate of Heaven.”