But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Christian artwork in the form of symbols has existed from the earliest days. The Roman catacombs of the second and third centuries AD, where the graves of hundreds of thousands of Christians are found, have yielded remarkable depictions reflecting the earliest period of the Christian era – fish, doves, ships, anchors, Chi-Rho and IHS, to name but a few. These early Christian artists sought to present worthy images in order to draw viewers into the eye of Faith. Their greater hope, of course, was that spectators might thereby discover ultimate meaning and obtain spiritual guidance. Once the Christian Faith emerged from the trials, tribulations and persecutions of its infancy, its artwork then rapidly gave way to expanded expressions. Though the exteriors of Early Christian buildings were plain and unadorned, the interiors were richly decorated with marble floors and wall slabs, frescoes, mosaics, metal works, hangings, and ornate furnishings in gold and silver – all in an attempt to reflect God’s glory and beauty (Exodus 28:2, 40). Early Christian illuminated manuscripts were of an unusually high quality. And Early Christian bas-reliefs made of marble and porphyry survive in abundance.
We should not be surprised, therefore, to discover that emblems in the form of crests or shields have existed for a thousand years. To this day, they still serve the important function of expressing the truth of Christian Faith through the artwork of symbols. Following is an explanation of the crest of the Anglican Churches of America and Associates shown above.
Cross: Just as the cross is central to Christianity, so the cross is central to the crest (I Corinthians 2:2). This symbol of Christ’s crucifixion is a vivid reminder of the great price He paid to procure salvation for His people. To this day, the cross remains the symbol of love, sacrifice, forgiveness and hope.
Bible: An open copy of the Sacred Scriptures – inspired, inerrant and infallible – is presented immediately beneath the cross, prepared to pierce as a sword. We are reminded of the mandate to rightly divide the Word of truth (II Timothy 2:15) which is the Spiritus Gladius, or sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17). A dominant symbol portrayed in the writings of St. Paul, the sword of the Spirit as the word of God also references St. Paul’s Parish as a founding member of the ACAA.
Maple Leaf: The three-pointed maple leaf backdrop is a reminder of the Blessed Trinity and the splendor and meaning of life furnished by the “One and the Many.” The color red is a reminder of the blood of the martyrs poured upon the seeds of the Gospel to bring forth life. The maple leaf is also a reminder of the consecration of the founding bishop, the Rt. Rev. Dr. C. Truman Davis, under Archbishop Thomas Fehervary in Canada. In addition, the maple leaf as a symbol of the Trinity references Trinity Parish as a founding member of the ACAA.
Shield: The background is in the shape of a shield, reminding us of the importance of Faith, by which Christians are to quench the fiery darts of the wicked (Ephesians 6:16). Positioned along the top of the shield’s outline are twelve stars, representative of Christ’s Twelve Apostles.
Gold: The color gold dominates the crest, symbolic of the unsurpassed glory and greatness of the Ancient of Days. The color gold is also a vivid reminder of the great wealth we have inherited in the gift of knowing and serving the Almighty according to His laws (Psalm 19:10; Romans 11:33). Eternal God, worthy of full trust, has become the most cherished and prized treasure of His people.
Crown: The crown ranks among the most ancient of Christian symbols, reminding us of the crown rights of King Jesus (Acts 17:7) – King of kings and Lord of lords (I Timothy 6:15). And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle (Revelation 14:14). The twenty-four knobs symbolize the four and twenty elders of Revelation 4:4, which are described as having crowns of gold also upon their heads.
Solas: The three “solas” are a reminder of the ancient formula of the Reformation – and the enduring foundation of Christian reformation in every generation.
Sola Scriptura – Scripture Alone
Sola Fide – Faith Alone
Sola Gratia – Grace Alone
Canterbury Cross: The small, humble Canterbury Cross supported gracefully by the strength of Christ’s Crown, is a reminder of the Anglican tradition represented in the Book of Common Prayer and the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion. It serves as a vivid reminder of the great price of martyrdom required of the English Reformers. But it also speaks of the great gifts they bequeathed upon their countrymen – and indeed, upon the world – through their Faith (I John 4:4). In honor of the Canterbury Cross, Canterbury Christian School was so named.
Backdrop: A backdrop of azure blue supports the shield and all of the various symbols. This is a reminder of the vigilance and loyalty, the dedication and perseverance required of Christians in the conflicts they face each generation (Ephesians 6:10-13) – and in faithfully finishing their appointed course (I Corinthians 9:24-27).