Wednesday, October 26, 2016

What Symbols Do You Hold Dear?

When I was twelve, my boyfriend (who eventually became my husband) and I went on our first official (chaperoned) date. On my 13th birthday, he bought this pictured gold bracelet and charm for me with his savings. I still have that bracelet and charm. It has always been a SYMBOL of when we met and had our first date and the sweet love we shared for so many years.

We are surrounded by signs and symbols in everyday life. We make decisions based on them -- traffic signs, for example. How about that coin on the sidewalk that reminds us “In God We Trust”?

There is no symbol more dear to Christians than the cross of Christ. At one time, crosses represented only torture until death. Now, the cross is a symbol of Jesus' conquering death and His resurrection.

Do I worship my bracelet or do I worship the cross I wear? Oh, no! My bracelet AND my cross are sweet reminders. Another symbol that we see is the Ichthys which is the Greek word for fish. Early Christians made an acrostic of it which means “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior.” The fish has plenty of references in the Bible, (for example, Jesus fed the 5,000 with 2 fishes and 5 loaves of bread and Jesus told His disciples to be Fishers of Men).

In the early church, the fish didn’t attract too much attention or suspicion (unlike the cross) so it was a perfect secret symbol for persecuted believers. When threatened by Romans in the first centuries after Christ, Christians used the fish mark in meeting places to distinguish friends from foes. According to one ancient story, when a Christian met a stranger in the road, the Christian would draw one arc of the simple fish outline in the dirt. If the stranger drew the other arc, both believers knew they were in good company and safe to admit they were Christians. Now you know the back story to the fish symbol we see used so often today. Thank God we are free to express our faith, unlike those in countries and places today, where they still must resort to secret signs & symbols.

My friend’s home front door has always appealed to me because the first time I saw it, I saw the Ichthys – the fish sign in it. Some would see it as a unique and beautiful front door, which it is. I loved that door and how ironic that now I’m staying at that friend’s home.

When my friend asked that I oversee the painting of that door while she’s away (it faces West so the stain had faded from the sun beating upon it), I was delighted that I was able to call my good friend John Krzych to do the job. It was like me, symbolically, drawing the arc in the sand and John completed it. That door will be symbolic to me in another way now – it will remind me of a good friend who is a professional, thorough and excellent painter. BTW – if you need a good painter in the Tulsa area, call John!

What symbols are reminders to you of significant events, precious memories and even keep you in closer touch with God? Do you wear a wedding band? Does it represent the the sacred marriage covenant you made before God with your spouse? Is your Bible just a book of stories on your coffee table, or are you reminded of God’s Word to His people that is a road map to success and victorious living if we apply its principles?

Symbols – reminders. What symbols do you hold near and dear to YOUR heart?