Trinity United Methodist Church
Saturday, August 19, 2017
Building a strong Christian Community to find, share, and celebrate the love of Christ in our hearts, neighbors, and world.

Symbolism At Trinity

  Number Symbols

 Symbols of THREE:

 

The letters “Tri” in Trinity refer to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Many symbols of three are in the structure of our Church:

Front Sanctuary Door – Above the front sanctuary door is a trefoil with three sections reminding us of the Trinity.

Ceiling - Divided into 3 sections – The “Godhead” of our Trinity.

Lectern - At the front of the lectern is a square with a trefoil enclosed and the 3 interlocking circles remind us of the Trinity.

Three Steps leading to the altar remind us not only of the Trinity, but also, Faith Hope and Love.

Fleur-de-lis -  At the top of each of the ten windows and above the 3-arched panels over the Altar are 3-petaled French flowers symbolizing the Trinity.

Gothic Windows – Ten windows come to a point which is formed of 3 interlocking units, again a symbol of the Godhead. In your mind’s eye draw an imaginary line from the outside edges of the two small panels above the altar. They should connect at the top of the larger panel, thus forming a Gothic window.

Light Fixtures -  In the base of each of the six panels are three triangles, and each chain from the ceiling attached to the light fixture in the form of a 3 interlocking circles (a Trefoil).

Windows – The tiny squares in each of the 10 windows are divided into triangles by the leaded connections

Pulpit -  At the front of the pulpit is a square with a trefoil enclosed and the 3 interlocking circles remind us of the Trinity.

Altar – The molding around the 3 arched panels above the altar is also a form of the trefoil.

Decorative Scarves – The “Superfrontal” scarves near the lectern, the pulpit and the altar have various symbols woven into them, including triangles, crosses and trefoils.

Symbols of TWO:

 

 Altar Candles – The two large candles stand for the two natures of our Lord - Man and God.  When they are lit by the torchbearer they imply, “Jesus is the Light of the World.”

Columns – The two columns at the edges of each of the ten windows also stand for the two natures of our Lord.

Symbols of FOUR

 Squares and rectangles, having four sides, represent the four Gospels.  Note them in the ceiling, the front of the pulpit, the base of the altar, and the bottom of each of the 6 panels in the light fixtures.

Symbols of FIVE

 The number five represents the wounds of our Lord.  See symbols of five in:

  • Five ranks of pipes on each side of the Chancel
  • Five panels in the wall beneath each rank of pipes
  • Five sides to the Pulpit
  • Five windows on each side of the church
  •  Five sections of scrolls contained in each window. 

Symbols of SIX

 The number six represents the stages of creation. 

  • Six panels in each of the light fixtures
  • Six scrolls in each window

Symbols of EIGHT

 The number eight reminds us of the Beatitudes.

 There are eight light fixtures to be reminded of Matthew 5:1-12

  • Eight arches at the top of each window
  • Arches in the light fixtures – the windows motif is reproduced in each fixture

 Other Symbols

CROSSES

The cross above the altar has a trefoil at each edge with a circle around the union of the crossarms.  The circle tells us that God’s love is endless- it has no beginning and no end.

The Baptismal Font has a cross on the top.

The Christian Flag has a cross on its top.

Memorial Plaques for former ministers have a cross at the top of each.

The Cruciform floor plan means the church itself is created in the form of a cross.  Perhaps it may also remind us of the hymn: “The Way of the Cross Leads Home.”

The Crucifer carries a cross into Worship each Sunday as a reminder of God’s love for us and of Jesus’ sacrifice.

LETTERS

  

I H S – In the center panel at the base of the altar are these letters.  Some have thought these letters mean “I Have Suffered”, “In His Service,” “In His Steps,” “I Have Salvation.”  The three letters actually are from the Greek meaning “Jesus is God and Savior.”  

  • I – is for Jesus ( the J looks like an I in Greek
  • H – is for God, or Theou  in Greek, the letter theta resembles an H
  • S – is for Savior, or Zoter in Greek

The FISH

 

The astrological sign for Jesus is the Fish.  The word “fish” in Greek is Ictus or Icthus.

Sometimes you will see the outline of a fish on the rear bumper of a car, with the letters “IXGYZ” written inside the fish symbol.  These letters stand for the five offices Jesus filled on earth: Jesus (I), Christ (X represents the Greek letter Chi), God , Son (in Greek the word for son is huios, and the Greek letter resembles a Y), and finally Savior, or Zoter.