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Where there’s smoke

I love the old Church Crest of our denomination. So rich in meaning. Layer upon layer of inspiring story. And useful still, not so much on letterhead, but in reminding the saints not to fear the threats of those who oppose them.

At the heart of the Crest is the Cross of Christ: central, foundational, immoveable, in first place and in prime position. Then the Reformation symbol of the Burning Bush, surrounded by the Latin ‘nec tamen consumebatur’ – ‘and yet not being consumed’, conveying the truth of the Church’s perseverance through persecution. Then the story of the Reformation’s missionary journey from Geneva to Great Britain (depicted by the English rose, Scottish thistle and Irish shamrock), and then from Great Britain to Australia (the transit indicated by the missionary, diagonal St Andrew’s Cross), and taking root in soils beneath the Southern Cross, and forming and shaping the Presbyterian Church of Australia.

All the elements of the story are helpful. The need to be an evangelical and evangelistic church. The challenge to be a missional and missionary church. The courage to be a Christian Church in an Australian culture. But the day seems soon when that symbol of burning will also need to be remembered and brought into play. For it seems that the sound of matches striking against the flint can be heard in our land, and the Church needs to prepare itself for another chapter of proving the preserving power of God.

DM 4th November 2014


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