I thought we might take a leisurely stroll this week and talk about symbols of faith. So let’s relax and let the Holy Spirit walk along shall we?
Symbols are wonderful and can be very, very powerful. As a community we need to understand that all of us are not on the same spiritual level. Many of us need visuals to help us along in our faith journey, having something tangible that can be seen, felt and smelt helps us. These symbols offer comfort, joy, healing, and spiritual insight. All through the Bible in both Testaments symbols are used. One thing of great importance that needs to be understood, and I’m not backing down from this my peeps, is that there is NO power in the symbol. The power is from God. He alone gives power to whomever and “whatever” he chooses. In the Old Testament this is what got Moses into trouble. His staff was a symbol of God’s power, but God wanted Israel to realize that the power was actually in Moses and not the staff. That he was God’s agent and that God himself might as well have been talking to them. God wanted Moses to speak to the rock at Meribah in order for water to gush forth. This would have proved once and for all that Moses was the true instrument of God’s power and not the staff. But in Moses’ anger at the people he struck the rock with the staff, negating what God wished to prove to the people (Numbers 20: 1-13). So as I mentioned last week the 1st symbol at Baptism is the cross. Now we all know what the cross signifies don’t we? Not a crucifix, a cross. I mean we all know that it represents death conquered right? Um, that’s why Jesus is no longer hanging on it. Where the crucifix reminds us of what Christ suffered for us, the cross shows us what he conquered. Did I mention I enjoy horror stories? Oh yes, I do. Like I’ve mentioned before every now and then there’s some truth in these too. Ever read Stephen King’s “Salem’s Lot”? There’s a part in the book where the local priest is confronting the vampire with a cross. The vampire grabs the cross and leans close to the priest and whispers, “It only works for those who have faith, Father. “ Oh that still gives me the willies! So what’s the significance of crossing at Baptism? The celebrant is “claiming” the child for Christ, marking the child with the symbol of Christian faith. The parents and godparents do the same signifying their participation in the community. In spiritual “speak” this actually is the second. I love telling the children that the 1st symbol is when God pushed his thumb through mommy’s womb and left his imprint so that we would always wonder about him. So marking the child tells the “Evil” one, “hands off buster, this one is taken!”
Next week… Oil
Until next time…may Jesus keep you smiling, may God’s grace shine on you and always pray for our pastor! Love ya!