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Church of the Brethren Logo

Written by Ronald J. Gordon ~ Published June, 1997 ~ Last Updated, August, 2011 ©
This document may be reproduced for educational purposes with full acknowledgement to the author.

A logo is a symbol that represents a concept which projects a larger framework to the mind. Logos can be simple, entailing one theme, or a complex arrangement of shapes that convey several messages. When a logo becomes familiar enough, it develops the unique ability to project subliminal messages that transcend ordinary speech or writing. For example, a hungering travel weary family upon seeing the “Golden Arches” immediately begins to visualize sizzling hamburgers, cold drinks, and steaming French fries. So vivid may be the conceptualization that one could almost taste the food before the car has even been parked; yet their experience was generated only from the recognition of a symbol. The Church of the Brethren logo is a composite of three different shapes that symbolize three central messages of the life of Jesus: cross, wave, and circle. Prayerfully our logo will also become familiar enough to generate similar mental pictures, and hopefully vivid enough to evoke a similar calling for enthusiastic dedication to God's kingdom.

CROSS - This symbol represents one of the most horrific methods of human execution, yet it has also become a singular logo for Christianity itself, because Jesus died on a cross for our sins. Appearing on church spires, altars, literature, bumper stickers, and costume jewelry, it has become a symbol of hope to millions of people who have accepted God's offer of redemption through Jesus' shed blood for their sins. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life,” John 3:16. Because of God's infinite love for humanity, we were given a way of escape from the wages of sin by accepting divine grace through the sacrificial death of Christ. “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it,” Luke 9:23-24. Paradoxically, one saves their life by losing it through identification with Jesus. In order to remain faithful to our calling, believers must take up their cross of identification with Christ by living according to His expectations instead of the world. The figure of a cross stands prominently in the Church of the Brethren logo, signifying our hope of eternal life through the death of Jesus, whose shed blood has provided redemption to all humankind.

CIRCLE - A geometric symbol of unity as represented in a wedding ring or an international conference table. Through identification with Jesus, believers are spiritually unified into one body. “So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members of one another,” Romans 12:5. “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism,” Ephesians 4:4-5. The circle also represents the earth and the Great Commission which calls for all believers to teach and baptize people in all nations, spreading the gospel of God's grace to all who will accept it. The prayer of Christ on that final night with his disciples, before walking across the Kidron valley into the garden of Gethsemane, focused on His desire for believers to maintain unity and achieve perfection. “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us...that they may be made perfect in one,” John 17:21,23. An unending circle reflects the nature of eternity. Christian hope is predicated on being resurrected into heaven to live forever. The figure of a circle reminds us to reach out to others that we may all be eternally unified in Christ.

WAVE - It represents numerous characteristics of water that describe various elements of Christianity. Water represents baptism through which a candidate enters into a new life, and then becomes united with the larger membership of believers. The Church of the Brethren fully immerses the baptismal candidate in water, in three successive forward motions as patterned after the words of Jesus in the Great Commission. “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost,” Matthew 28:19. As Christ was buried in the grave and arose to new life on the third day, so also do we bury our sins and rise to newness of life in baptism. From a watery baptismal grave, converts depart from a lifestyle of death into a lifestyle filled with promise (Romans 6:8). Water also evokes our compassion for service as Christ washed the feet of the disciples as a slave with towel and basin (John 13:5), reminds us of Jesus' promise of rewards for service (Mark 9:41), recalls that justice will ultimately flow like a river (Amos 5:24), and reveals the eternal nature of the gospel (John 4:14). The wave prompts our compassion to serve, teach, and baptize.

The Church of the Brethren logo is comprised of these three elements which makes a distinctive statement reflecting: our unity in Christ, our compassion for a world in spiritual darkness, our mission to serve others, our responsibility to teach and baptize, and our hope of reward for faithfulness.

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“These things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.”
John 17:13

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