Symbols have been an important means of communication in the human history. Language can be thought as a system of symbols. Each linguistic unit has meaning or is a symbol of something and we use those for communication. Actually, the symbolic system that humans use for communication is not limited in language. We convey more messages via actions; symbols play important roles in this context as well.
Personally, I think it is a shame that our society and protestant churches are losing the system of symbols except for the use of language. As protestant churches try to reform the system which leaned heavily toward symbolism, the pendulum swung far too much to the other end of extreme. One manifestation of it is the loss of symbols. A small symbol can replace thousands of words, and a small symbolic action can mean thousands of spiritual confessions. Things in your heart that are hard to express in words sometimes can manifest themselves via external behaviors and actions. Maybe you are not realizing it, but we all live in the midst of symbolic expressions. Worship we offer at church, the seat arrangements, etc. all contain the symbolic meanings. Unknowingly or knowingly we have been exchanging symbolic messages to each other.
There are some who feel awkward to come the table of devotion after the service, but if they realize the symbolic meaning of the confessions at the devotion table, they will feel less awkward. Please remember that the target of your devotion and confession is God. First of all, when you come to the devotion table, you are coming to God. God wants you to come close to him just the way you are. It does not matter if you are weak or lack many things, God wants you to come close to him just the way you are. Coming to God by the blood of Jesus gives us confidence. Coming to the devotion table symbolizes of our will, faith and thirst for God. Before Jesus healed the man with a shriveled hand, he said to the man first to stretch out his hands in front of everyone.
Following the shepherd…
Pastor Jiwon Choi