How are Christ’s followers to be identified?
If we’ve not yet seen it, we will. There are few regions of our nation in which Wal-Mart is not a presence. The giant retailer has made its mark by advertising lower prices on items virtually everyone needs. The stores in my area appear to be doing good business. Sam Walton’s vision has been fulfilled.
Effective July 1, Wal-Mart has a new logo. Their web site already sports the new design, and signage will be updated in the coming weeks. The redesign is nothing drastic; instead of all capital letters, only the first letter is now capitalized. A softer rounded font replaces the bold font of the past. The most notable change appears to be the sunburst (it looks like an asterisk). This symbol follows the name “Walmart”, instead of serving as the separator between “Wal” and “Mart”.
Business analysts are all abuzz about what the changes mean. One story interpreted the changes to signify Walmart’s attempt to be seen as more environmentally friendly. The choice of font was scrutinized, as was the decision not to capitalize every letter in the name. And we can be sure the changes were not made in haste. The company undoubtedly invested much money in marketing studies before rolling out their new image. In the business world, logos are serious issues.
Why didn’t God provide a logo for Christianity? By seeing a drawing or a particular word, everyone would instantly know they were looking at the Lord’s prescribed lifestyle. But raising this question sparks an immediate response: Maybe God did provide a logo for the church. Here are a couple of possibilities.
Perhaps the cross is a logo for Christians. Paul gives credibility to this suggestion with comments in 1 Corinthians 1:18: “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (NKJV). What did Paul mean when he wrote about “the message of the cross”? He had more in mind than the typical instrument of execution, widely utilized by the Roman Empire. Paul used the word “cross” to encapsulate God’s plan of redemption and the only path to forgiveness and eternal life. It’s a concept he employed elsewhere (e.g. Galatians 6:12,14 and Philippians 3:18).
Jesus, however, has the best idea for a Christian logo. Rather than a symbol, Jesus commands a behavior: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34,35). Not everyone who wears a cross around their neck will meet Christ’s expectations. The way we treat one another is the preferred identification for a disciple.
In this sense, Christianity has a logo. To see a person treat another with grace, compassion, mercy and dignity is to see discipleship in action.