Lenten Symbols, 2012
Designed and constructed by Doug Scott

Each symbol brings to mind the promise in the scriptures for the Sundays of Lent.

 

 

    

    We are a covenant people. A covenant is an agreement between two parties in which both agree to do certain things. God made a covenant with Noah and his family and promised that life would be cherished and that all life would be protected.

    As a sign of this covenant, God set a rainbow in the sky as a promise that all life would be cherished. In many cultures and traditions, a rainbow is a symbol of hope, of new life, and of new life beginning again. This symbol, which will be part of a growing cairn of symbols, reminds us that life is precious and that God is about creating new life in us.

          

    God made a number of covenants with people who have become our ancestors in faith. God called Abraham and Sarah from their homeland to live in a new land, the Land of Milk and Honey.

    Sarah and Abraham were not called that in the beginning; they were known as Sarai and Abram. Sarai and Sarah both mean princess, and the change in name signifies a change in life, that of bearing a child. Abram means "exalted ancestor" and Abraham means "ancestor of a multitude." Sarah and Abraham were to be ancestors of as many people as there are stars in the heavens.

      

    As a covenant people made new in Christ, we inherit the gifts of our ancestors in faith, our Jewish brothers and sisters. While we don't live the Torah, it forms the basis of how we live the gospel.

    As covenant people, the Jews were given the Torah, the living law, which was to guide them in neighbourly love. God wrote a summary of these laws on stone tablets. It was God's hope that people would live with integrity and hope in welcoming the stranger, in being neighbourly with others in the community. We present these stone tablets as a sign of the covenant love in which God invites us to live.

     

    The Apostle Paul, from whom we have many letters in our Christian Scriptures, is one of the prominent leaders of the early Christian Church. He founded congregations around the Mediterranean world and was important in the development of what we believe.

    As covenant people, Paul taught that God's grace upholds us and opens us to God's expansive love. Paul confirmed what we read from the Gospel of John,"For God so loved the world, that God gave the Only Begotten One." This symbol reminds us of God's love not just for our world, but for the whole universe.

     

    Many spiritual paths speak of the constant cycle of life, death and rebirth. Jesus spoke of this path as well. In our own lives, we die to self many times, and rise to new life as new creations. Jesus used the analogy of placing a seed of wheat in the ground, which then goes through a form of death, to be reborn as a wheat plant.

    This wheat reminds us of the cycle of new life that is constantly at work around us and within us. Our calling is to trust in this regenerative process and to be agents of new life in our living and in our working, in our praying and in our actions. As we celebrate our community of faith life today,may God bless us in this life of the Spirit.