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Window of the Month
Detroit Institute of Arts

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Window

Building Name: First United Methodist Church

Studio Name: Von Gerichten Studios

City: Kalamazoo

Window Shape: 6 (gothic arched, over 2 vertical sections)

Subject/Title of Window: Love

Brief Description of Subject: The main symbolism of the Nave windows develops the Gifts of the Spirit: Faith, Hope, Love, Wisdom, Knowledge, Courage, Justice and Mercy. The Cross of Faith, the Anchor of Hope, the Burning Heart for Love, Burning Candle with the book of Wisdom, Burning Lamp of Knowledge, Oak Tree with crusader’s shield for Courage, the Sword and Scales for Justice, the Blunted Sword or broken Sword for Mercy. It is fitting that the emblems of the apostles should be used throughout these windows, as they were the “Distributors of the Word.” In the next window to the east we find in the central panel a symbol which is not common in Protestant churches as in Roman Catholic churches. Pinned to the cross of self sacrifice is the heart of sincere devotion. But this rather negative thought is not sufficient. The heart upon the cross is a burning heart. It is aflame with zeal for the tasks of God’s kingdom. There is a vast difference between a sacrifice which is made through supine registration and one which is made through enthusiastic devotion. As J.R. Seeley said in his Ecce homo, “No heart is pure that is not passionate; no virtue is safe that is not enthusiastic.” This symbol reminds of us of those words of Jesus (Matthew 16:25), “Whosoever would save his life shall lose it, but whosoever would love his life for my sake shall find it.” Two disciples whose lives illustrated this quality of enthusiastic devotion are symbolized in the panels on either side. On the left, the serpent in the cup symbolized in the panels on either side. On the left, the serpent in the cup symbolizes the Apostle John, author of the fourth gospel, whose enemies twice unsuccessfully plotted his death with a cup of poison. On the right, the broad axe and saw symbolize the Apostle Simon whose martyr death is recorded in two traditions, one that he was beheaded and the other that he was sawn asunder. In the center bottom panel, the baptismal font is a symbol of God’s forgiveness of our sins and dedication to Him. At the top of the center panel is the descending dove, symbol of the comfort and assurance brought by the invisible presence of the Holy Spirit. On either side of the dove appears a sacred monogram. The IHS presents the first three letters of the Greek form of the name Jesus. Since the Greek language did not have a J, the I served this purpose. In the Greek language the sound for the which the letter H stands in English, was indicated by a punctuation maker rather than a letter. The Greek H is equivalent to the double E (as in meek) in English. Thus, the Greek Letters IHS are JES in English, being the first three letters of the name Jesus. Attempts to explain this sacred monogram as the initials of the Latin word meaning Jesus Savior of men, are corruptions which originated in the Middle Ages out of the misunderstanding of people who were ignorant of the Greek language. The sacred monogram XP is also composed of Greek letters. The X was the Greek equivalent of our English CH, and the Greek P is the equivalent of our English R. Thus XP is equivalent to the English letters CHR, the first three letters of the name of Christ. The reason that Greek letters appear so frequently in Christian symbolism is that this was the language of communication throughout the eastern Mediterranean at the time the Christian Church was founded. The entire New Testament was originally written in the Greek language. Many of the first Christians churches outside the Holy Land were founded in Greek cities such as Phillippi, Thessalonica, Corinth, Ephesus, and others. Many of Paul’s epistles to these churches appear in the New Testament.

Condition of Window: Very Good

Height: 50'?

Width: 12'?

Type of Glass and Technique: Antique or Cathedral Glass, Lead Came

Love
Love
The Holy Ghost
The Holy Ghost
The Cross of Faith
The Cross of Faith
The Cup of Suffering
The Cup of Suffering
Gifts of the Spirits windows, left
Gifts of the Spirits windows, left
Gifts of the Spirits windows exterior
Gifts of the Spirits windows exterior

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