During the time between Epiphany [January 6th] and the beginning of Lent on Ash Wednesday [date varies from year to year], these worship folder inserts will focus on the “space” in which we gather for corporate worship. A couple of weeks ago, there was an article about the sanctuary itself. Today, the focus is upon the worship banners which help to beautify the space and draw attention to the season of the Christian year in which we gather.
The majority of the year is characterized by “ordinary” or “non-festive” time and typically the banners reflect the color for that time of the year – green. The green worship banners which adorn the sanctuary contain two great and historic Christian symbols. The cross is THE most recognizable of Christian symbols even though it began as a tool of torture and death by the Roman Empire. On a cross outside of the city walls of Jerusalem, Jesus , our Savior, was crucified around 29 A.D. Over the centuries, it has also come to be understood as a symbol that acknowledges Christ’s resurrection from the dead. Even in the New Testament, there are places where the Apostle Paul refers to the “cross” or the “death of Christ” and he means to imply Christ’s suffering, death, AND resurrection.
The other green worship banner also contains an ancient church symbol. It is called an “ichthus” and is the Greek word for “fish.” Each of the Greek letters in the word “ichthus” creates an acronym, which when translated into English is – “Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Savior.” The ancient “fish” often served as a “secret code” for Christians who were facing intense times of persecution or marginalization.
Throughout the Christian year, the worship banners will change colors and messages as they serve to enhance the worship that we offer to our gracious God!