Windows of Faith
The late Reverend John Trantham designed and created our nine Windows of Faith. These windows depict sacred symbols of people from many lands and faiths. At their dedication on May 1, 1993, Reverend Marjorie Montgomery said of the windows:
I call these beautiful windows, made by the Rev. John Trantham, “Windows of Faith.” They reveal what men and women of many lands and many times have decided is holy. And they call us to think for ourselves about what WE shall decide is most holy, about what we shall have faith in, and about how we shall order our lives.
- Cross of Christianity
- Six-pointed Star of Judaism
- Crescent Moon and Star of Islam
- Om of Hinduism
- Eight-spoked Wheel of Buddhism
- Yin-Yang of Taoism
- Gateway of Shintoism
- Star of Astarte
Cross of Christianity
Christianity began about 2000 years ago with the followers of Jesus. Its wisdom is contained in the gospel accounts of Jesus’ life in New Testament
of the Bible.
For Christians, God is revealed as both a suffering God and a loving God through the Christ. God, Jesus as the Christ, the quest for salvation from sin, and service to God through serving others are holy to the Christian.
The Christian Golden Rule is: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Star of David
The Six-pointed Star of Judaism (the Star of David) represents Judaism as a complex entity; a whole, divisible into sections, all of which converge on and emerge from a common center.
Judaism began over 3500 years ago with the patriarch Abraham. Its wisdom is contained in the Hebrew Scriptures of the Bible, especially the first five books, or the Torah.
For Jews, Yahweh is the only God, and a holy life is one of obedience to God’s laws, especially the Ten Commandments. Judaism was the first religion to evolve into ethical monotheism. God, God’s Law, close families and the religious community are holy to Jews.
The Jewish version of the Golden Rule is: What is hurtful to yourself do not do to your fellow men.
Crescent Moon of Islam
The Crescent Moon of Islam, a waxing, growing moon, represents paradise in the Islamic faith. Islam began in the Middle East about 1500 years ago with the prophet Muhammad. Its wisdom is contained in the Koran and the Old Testament of the Chrsitian Bible.
Islamics, or Muslims, believe in one true God, Allah. Islam means to accept, to surrender. A good Muslim submits to the will of Allah, prays five times a day, and makes at least one lifetime pilgrimage to Mecca.
The Islamic version of the Golden Rule is: No one is a believer until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.
Om of Hinduism
The Om of Hinduism, written in Sanskrit, represents Brahman or the eternal God and eternal life. Hinduism began over 3500 years ago in India. Its wisdom is contained in the Vedas, the Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita.
The word OM is used in meditation to help focus on spiritual and mental reality. The aim of Hinduism is recognition a non-dualistic unity between self and creation. The idea that this physical world is an illusion and the spiritual world is reality is holy to the Hindu.
The Hindu version of the Golden Rule is: Do naught to others which if done to thee would cause thee pain.
Wheel of Buddhism
The Eight-spoked Wheel of Buddhism represents the eight-fold path to Enlightenment. Buddhism began in India about 2500 years ago with the prophet Siddartha, or Gautama Buddha, and was ooriginally an offshoot from Hinduism. Its wisdom is contained in sutras, vinayas, and abhidharmas.
Buddhists believe that a life lived in ignorance and attachment to things is painful. They seek enlightenment, which is detachment from desire. The eight paths to enlightenment include right belief, right purpose, right speech, right conduct, right means of livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right meditations. The quest for enlightenment, personal discipline, and victory over self is holy to the Buddhists.
The Buddhist version of the Golden Rule is: Hurt not others with that which pains yourself.
Yin and Yang of Taoism
The Yin Yang of Taoism symbol describes all of reality as one integrated whole, composed of complementary entities. The light side is Yang, masculine, strong like the sun. The dark side is Yin, feminine, and fertile like the ground.
The age of Taoism is uncertain. It emerged in China more than 2500 years ago. Its wisdom is contained in the Tao Te Ching, attributed to the great teacher, Lao Tzu.
Where Westerners see opposites,Taoists see complements, two entities which taken together make a whole. The aim of Taoism is to liberate people from heedless immersion in mundane activities, reorienting them toward life’s deeper, abiding realities.
The Taoist version of the Golden Rule is: Regard your neighbor’s gain as your own and your neighbor’s loss as your own.
Gateway of Shintoism
Shinto has extremely ancient roots evolving perhaps 10,000 years ago in Japan as a vast, informal complex of beliefs, customs, and practices. This informal religion was later codified to distinguish it from religions emigrating from China.
The belief that the Emperor is a God is central to Shintoism, which holds these things holy: nature, land, and leaders, and especially ancestors.
Star of Astarte
The Star of Astarte is symbolic of the re-emergence of ancient, earth-based, religions in the modern world. These religions often time their significant observances and celebrations with solstice, equinox and changes in the moon’s phases.
The Star of Astarte represents the Goddess Astarte, an ancient middle-eastern goddess of fertility and growth. Astarte was both creator and destroyer. Her power was expressed in the creation of earth and all living things. The miracle of life and growth, and the changing seasons and nature, which sustain human life are holy to followers of the Goddess.
This view of the planet Earth represents the oceans, land, and atmosphere as first seen from space by 20th Century astronauts. It does not represent any specific religion, but reminds us of how small and fragile our spaceship ome is. It is symbolic of the human spirit as manifested in the discipline of scientific inquiry.
Wisdom about our planet is found in many sources. This depiction of the planet Earth reminds many Unitarian Universalists of the Seventh Principle of the Unitarian Universalist Association which some understand as our version of the Golden Rule.
We affirm respect for the interdependent web of life of which we are a part.