Blessings from Butner PC
July 18, 2017
“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us.” (Ephesians 5:1)
Symbolism is a big part of our faith and worship. The most obvious and recognizable symbol we use is the cross. The cross that hangs above the altar is empty – as opposed to the crucifix used by some other denominations – because it symbolizes the risen Christ. You see the symbol of the cross used in other aspects of our worship, including the seal of the Presbyterian Church that appears on our hymnals. The cross is also frequently worn as jewelry, a reminder we carry with us of the sacrifice of our Lord and Savior (although for some people, I think it is just jewelry.) Did you know that cathedrals are typically built in the shape of a cross?
And there are other symbols of our faith. When threatened by Romans after the death and resurrection of Christ, Christians used the symbol of the fish to mark meeting places and identify friends and fellow believers. Like the cross, the fish had scriptural roots, such as Jesus feeding of the five thousand. The Greek word for fish, ichthys, was an acrostic for “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior.”
But did you know that there are symbols for each of the four gospel writers? For example, John is represented by the eagle, because he wrote mostly about the divine nature of our Lord, and since the eagle flies higher than most other birds, it is said that his gospel soars to the throne of heaven.
Of course, we don’t worship these symbols – that would be idolatry. But these symbols serve as reminders of our faith and support our worship, while providing a common language that can be understood around the world, regardless of nationality or education. The next time you are at Butner PC (or any other church), look around and see what other symbols of our faith you can find that remind us that we are all part of the one body of Christ on earth.