What symbols make a connection to the Word for you during Ordinary Time? Continuing last week's blog post of defining a bit of what we do at Carrot Top Studio I thought we'd look at a few symbols that we might find in a worship space or on a stole or worship banner and figure out what they might mean. This group includes symbols for God:
All -seeing Eye. A Symbol of the omniscience of God (Ps. 33:18) The eye is shown within a rayed triangle.
Circle. This is an ancient symbol representing eternity and completeness because it has no beginning and no ending.
Creator's star. A six-pointed star, made from two equilateral triangles, symbolizing the Triune God. The six points are reminiscent of the six attributes of God: power, majesty, wisdom, love, mercy, and justice, and also of the six days of Creation.
Hand of God. A symbol of God the Father, the only symbol for God used during the first eight centuries of the church. The hand symbolizes God as creator and sustainer of all of creation, and comes from the many references to the "hand of God" in the Bible (e.g., Deut. 3:23-24, Ezra 8:21-23, 1 Pet. 5:6) The Hand may be shown in any of the following postures:
- reaching down from the clouds.
- descending from the clouds, and holding five tiny human beings, representative of being held in God's hand (Ps. 139:10).
- in the Latin form, reaching down from heaven in blessing, the two first fingers and thumb extended, and the other two bent to the palm. This image is superimposed over a three-rayed nimbus enclosed in a circle, a symbol of Deity.
- in the Greek form, with the hand pointing to heaven, the forefinger extended, the middle finger and little finger closed in a half-circle, and the thumbs crossing the ring finger. Reading right to left, this form spells ICXC or Jesus Christ in Greek.
In times when not everyone learned to read books, symbols were used as "the language" to tell the story of our faith. Therefore in literate societies today we have lost some of the knowledge of the meaning of these images. In the studio we're all for artistic interpretation but we also appreciate historical symbols and their meaning. Next week we'll explore a few more!