Traditionally, [the tabernacle is] a focus of devotion in the church, it provides a reverent means of reserving the Sacrament of Holy Communion for use in communing the homebound and the ill. Our tabernacle takes the form of a triptych, which opens to reveal its core image of a Pieta. Created especially for its space near the altar, the tabernacle enhances our celebration of the Eucharist, as its Gothic shapes harmonize beautifully with the architecture.
The tabernacle (also called an aumbry or a sacrament house) was installed in October 1998. The closed doors present the traditional symbols of the four Gospels, found also on the altar cross. When opened the doors form a triptych that complements the design of the lunette above the altar.
The tabernacle icon portrays the Virgin Mother as the mater Dolorosa (Mother of Sorrows), seated and grieving over the crucified body of her Son. The adoring angels of the lunette appear on the tabernacle icon in mourning, holding funeral candles to drive back the darkness of death and to promise the resurrection of him whose sacramental presence is enshrined in the safe behind the central panel. The door of the safe is embellished with the Lamb of God with his banner of victory, recalling the mosaic in the center of the altar cross.
The tabernacle was a gift to First Church from the State Community Bankers Association in honor of Glen and LaVonne Johnson, faithful members of First Lutheran Church.
The white lamp hung above the tabernacle indicates the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. It was a gift from Ernest and Lois Schindehette.