When the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) was born out of the merger between the Presbyterian Church in the United States and the United Presbyterian Church in the United States of America in 1983, the newly combined denomination commissioned arguably the most beautiful and clever logo ever designed.
When you first glance at the PC (U.S.A.) logo, you see the overall shape of the cross and the two fires below. But upon a closer look, you notice some familiar shapes that are all combined into one!
Let’s unpack this magnificent logo from top to bottom:
The overall cross
The fires representing the burning bush of Moses as well as when fire is used by God to send a message to people
The dove of the Holy Spirit descending downward to earth
The open Holy Scriptures
A baptismal font
The red, white, and blue colors of the United States
Wow! Every section and shape is significant and represents something relative to our faith.
Fires Harken to the Old Testament and New Testament
The fires at the base of either side of the cross represent several different events. First of course, Moses saw a sudden and standalone burning bush there in the wilderness near Mount Sinai – and he noticed that the bush miraculously wasn’t being consumed by the fire. The leaves remained green, the branches remained brown, and nothing was becoming charred. God used it to get Moses’ attention and speak to him there.
The Lord then said to Moses: “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground. I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” (Exodus 3:5-6 and Acts 7:33-34). God then told Moses that He was about to send him back to where he grew up – back to Pharaoh’s palace – and that Moses would be the one to get Pharaoh to lead the Israelites out of Egypt and into the Promised Land.
And it happened, albeit after 10 painful plagues that afflicted only the Egyptians, but God protected the Israelites from those plagues there in Egypt. So Moses and his brother Aaron led the Israelites through the wilderness, where God led them by a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. Yep, there’s fire again.
Dove and Baptismal Font for Jesus’ Baptism
When Jesus was being baptized in the Jordan River by His cousin John the Baptist, the Spirit of God descended like a dove upon Him. “And a voice from Heaven said, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased!’” (Matthew 3:17). In the Presbyterian Church, we believe that God comes to us in our weakness, He doesn’t wait around for us to go to Him first – which is why we baptize children.
We use a baptismal font that has water in a small bowl at the top, and the minister baptizes the baby’s or child’s forehead with some water. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) only has two sacraments, and those are baptism and the Lord’s Supper (communion).
The logo has areas representing all parts of the Trinity, which is how God represents Himself to man: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And although this denomination spans physically beyond the borders of the United States, since it’s based in the U.S., it’s designed with the patriotic red, white, and blue.
The Largest Presbyterian Denomination
There are various Presbyterian churches, but the PC (U.S.A.) is the largest one of the bunch. We are part of what is called “mainline” and “reformed,” and we are reformed because our predecessor, the Church of Scotland, was born out of the Protestant Reformation of the 1500s.
The Lord will continue to bless our Church as long as we continue to bless Him, and this inspiring logo is a great symbol of how we’re trying to do just that. Amen.