For Your Bookshelf

For my birthday, my brother recently gave me a photograph of an ocean scene with a person walking on the beach. Upon opening the gift I pondered the symbolism of peacefulness one gets when walking on the beach, the imagery of water curing thirst and cleanliness, and a desire for retreat to the wilderness.

This makes me think of the history of Christian worship and how it is immersed in symbolism, beginning with the symbols from the Jewish scriptures such as the rainbow God gave Noah. Until modern times literacy was limited therefore worship depended upon signs and symbols to remind and teach and aid us with the mystery of God. Signs and symbols still serve this purpose today.

A book I often turn to while researching the design of minister’s stoles or worship banners is Worship Without Words by Patrica Klein. This little guide is a very helpful explanation of the liturgical calendar and the signs, symbols, gestures, vestments and architectural elements that accompany liturgy. You may also enjoy it for your bookshelf.