I'm captivated by the sights of worship: stained-glass gospel scenes, crackled glass enclosing the eternal flame, a descending dove embroidered on a red field, a black-shrouded cross, or wooden rafters evoking a ship's frame or a whale's rib cage.
My college anthropology professor called ritual the "scaffolding upon which faith can grow." This description fits my experience with symbols. During periods of doubt, symbols remind me of others' individual and corporate experiences of God. These visual artifacts evidence the living Christian community the way crumbling structures, hidden scrolls and discarded tools point to past civilizations.
Last year I adopted the image of the sacred heart of Jesus in Lenten devotion. I worked my way through the season, from messy sketches in a notebook to an inky blue heart on a black canvas field. The symbol's use outside the faith community first attracted me. It's a printer's mark, a popular tattoo and the logo for music purveyor House of Blues.
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