Thursday, July 14, 2011

Glory Window in the Thanks-Giving Square Chapel

The "Glory Window" of the Thanks-Giving Square Chapel in downtown Dallas, Texas:
photo source here

"The most prominent and recognizable feature of Thanks-Giving Square is the Chapel of Thanksgiving, a small, spiral tower that features an enclave for prayerful thanks. Inside the chapel, the spiral is topped with stained glass "Glory Window", one of largest horizontally mounted stained-glass pieces in the world. The window was designed by Gabriel Loire of Chartres, France to feature brighter colors as the spiral reached its apex, becoming brighter as it reaches the center. Philip Johnson and Burgee Architects designed the Chapel of Thanksgiving in 1976. The spiral shape of the window is inspired by the spiralled shape of the chambered nautilus."

Glory Window in the Thanks-Giving Square Chapel


What is it about the chambered nautilus that makes it so beautiful, compelling, and sought-after? The BeachChair Scientists says:

“Year after year beheld the silent toil
That spread his lustrous coil;
Still, as the spiral grew,
He left the past year’s dwelling for the new,
Stole with soft step its shining archway through,
Built up its idle door,
Stretched in his last-found home, and knew the old no more.”
Oliver Wendall Holmes (1804-1894)

"The above is only an excerpt from the poem, “The Chambered Nautilus” by Holmes published in 1858. But, it begins to hint at the marvel of this magnificent cephalopod. The chambered nautilus has become breathtaking subject matter for generations of artists and has become a commodity on the commercial trade industry."

"The chambered nautilus is a squid that lives inside a shell marked with a brown and white zebra pattern. As the squid grows, the shell grows with it and creates compartments which are used as gas chambers and help the cephalopod rise or sink in the water column. The inside of the shell is lined with an iridescent pearl. In the last chamber of the shell are almost 90 tentacles and large eye peering out. Predators of the chambered nautilus include sharks, turtles and octopus."

"What makes the chambered nautilus so mysterious and sought after?"

"Is it is mother of pearl that line the inside of this creature’s shell?"

"Is it that it represents a far off species only found tropical Indo-Pacific?"

"Most likely, I think it is that the inside compartments of the nautilus each mirror its smaller and larger part exactly and the animal is an example of the golden rectangle found in nature."

"This harmonic progression is an illustration of Fibonacci’s sequence. This is a sequence where the first two numbers in the series are added to create the third number for a series of number that begins 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34 and so on forever. This proportional pattern can be seen all over in nature: flower petals, pinecones and even galaxies. Below is an illustration of the proportion as it relates to the chambered nautilus."

Image – http://2muchfun.info
See, when we respond to the beauty of the interior of the chambered nautilus we are responding to the orderliness and beauty of God's creation. He patterned it. He ordered it. He made it lyrical, poetic, beautiful. This beauty is not only captured in the iridescence of the shell, or in the stateliness of a pine tree, or the symmetry of a wave, but in the math behind these exterior aesthetic qualities that please us. Oftentimes we don't know why we like them so well, but we do. There is an orderliness in the Fibonacci sequence that satisfies, somehow. We are responding to this:

"because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse," (Romans 1:19-20)

We are responding to God when we acclaim the beauty of the orderly creation.

2 comments:

  1. God is the very best artist, mathematician, architect and bioengineer the universe has ever seen! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree he has made the world such a beautiful place and this is just one of the beauty's he has made in the world. We must embrace what God has given us and treasure it.

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