June 8 – Understanding Symbols

3:160 – Understanding Symbols

#faithbites #faithjourney symbols

Yesterday we talked about how people see things differently. Today, we will talk about symbols. Our society is filled with symbols for political parties, countries, religions, and groups. As groups we use symbols to get points across such as marching, kneeling, walking, saluting. These symbols are important but they aren’t as important as what they represent. If we get caught up in the symbols, we miss the deeper meaning.

In Christianity, our main symbol is the Cross. This too has a controversial use. Some would never wear or show a Cross as a symbol of their faith as that is the darkest day for our faith. Others wear it proudly and share it as it represents a fulfillment of God’s promises and everything Jesus did for us. Again, is it the symbol that matters or what is behind it? If you see a Cross do you know what it stands for or do you just see a Cross?

Scripture
  • Rainbow – a sign of promise from God.
    • Genesis 9:13 I set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth
    • Ezekiel 1:28 – Like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord.And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard the voice of one speaking.
  • Rock – a symbol for strength and security from God
    • Psalm 18:2 – The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
  • Lamb – a symbol for Jesus’s sacrifice
    • John 1:29 – The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”
Reflection

These are but three of the many symbols in the Bible. We can expand that and look at the names God is called: King of Kings, Lord of Lord’s, Creator, Father, and more. These are symbols.

When I see a Rainbow, is that God? Us every lamb Jesus? Is the rock God? No. They may be created by God but they aren’t him. When we see it, we may think about God or we may not. That’s the thing about symbols. It may or may not hit the mark.

When someone is specifically using a symbol, if you don’t know what it means you should ask and listen. What you think it means may be wrong or not what they intended. Part of being human is listening to each other, learning, and not making assumptions.

Challenge

Find one symbol in the world today and ask about it. Find out what it means to the people using it and why. You may not agree with it, but listening will build relationships.

Prayer

Father God, thank you for being ever present in our lives. We see you in so many symbols. Not everyone knows you by name or understands the symbols that we have come to know you by. Help us to realize that we all have different backgrounds and experiences. Let us ask first to understand, rather than assume something. We want to be more in communion with you Lord. Please hear our prayers. In your name, Amen.

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