29 October, 2007

A Better Christian Symbol

There were a number of Christian symbols in the first and second centuries. None of them was a cross. We had a fish (not the Ichthys fish, but just a fish) and a boat. They both symbolized life surviving in the ocean of death. There was the anchor, and the Shepherd, and I believe there was a meal. Fortunately, I've mislaid my copy of "Ante Pacem", so I don't have to engage in any real research or anything for this little post. :-)

Either way, the cross didn't hit its stride as the exclusive Christian symbol until Constantine shamed us by joining our club under his banner. Once the emperor said it was under that sign he conquered, we fell hook, line and sinker for it. I rather doubt he was motivated by Paul's exhortation to glory in naught save the cross - maybe the crass, but not the cross.

For years and years I've thought our ultimate symbol should be of the resurrection.

And so I present the newest Christian symbol:

The Empty Tomb

It's the tomb with the stone rolled away, and the empty table upon which Christ's shroud lay. Sure, it needs a little explanation, but so did those two sticks nailed to each other before Constantine made it "a star."

I like the way it looks a little like the infinity symbol.


Milly said...

It could catch on
These did
Mostly with me, I know, I know

tari said...

I like it!

codepoke said...

Wow! Some day I might come up with an emoticon for the empty tomb like, @O and it might be as famous as >*-*< ?

There's a goal worthy of a life!

Milly said...

I like @O , someday it could happen. ~;-}

I put yours on my uniform thing that I have to wear. Who knows it might just take off.

Kansas Bob said...

You are way too creative for me CP!!

Whenever I look at the cross it reminds me of the resurrection because it is empty.

karen said...

I'm with KB....
Have trouble with the crucifix, cuz Jesus is still hangin' there. That's not the point, the point is it's empty.
Love the cross...have to think about your symbol, CP!

pearlie said...

I am with Karen ;)

Weekend Fisher said...

<< There were a number of Christian symbols in the first and second centuries. None of them was a cross. >>

Why do you suppose that when Constantine saw a vision of a cross, he associated it with Christianity? Seems to me that he never would have seen a vision of a cross and associated it with Christianity unless that symbol were already in common use and had already become recognizably the Christian symbol.

Though there are still plenty of other Christian symbols, were back then and will be. It would be nice to have a symbol of the resurrection. It's just harder to draw ...

codepoke said...

Forgive me, but I don't remember where I heard the joke.

The boy goes to Catholic school, and his math scores go from F's to A's overnight. His mother is delighted, but she's perplexed too. Finally, she can stand it no more and asks what the difference was?

"The first day I walked into school and saw that guy they'd nailed to the plus sign, I knew they were serious about their Math, and I'd better shape up!"


I didn't really figure I was going to light the world on fire here. Thanks for looking and thinking. :-)

WF: Yes, by the end of the 2nd century the cross was beginning to make inroads, and it was pretty much the established symbol by the time Constantine rolled around in the early 4th century.

Milly said...

I was raised not to wear the cross. It surprised me when my grandmother gave me one. Several family members still won't wear one. I was told that our cross was empty. I wear one, it’s a happy thing to look at it when those around me aren’t kind. I know that He is.

Now if you could get James Avery to make an empty tomb I'd wear it.

Kansas Bob said...

Your sad joke reminded me of this Robert Schullerism..

"So, what is the cross? It is a minus turned into a plus!

..bet you will think twice before telling another joke :)