Science has its own language; the arts have another. Religion uses the language of the arts, for it uses signs and symbols, like bridges from the visible to the invisible. The symbol is not an object of worship but invites us to worship. It leads to an encounter with the divine. Richly illustrated, The Symbols of the Church shows that the language of symbols is more universal than the language of words in expressing faith.
Over 200 full-color photographs and illustrations depict a variety of symbols that range from bells to architecture to liturgical vestments. Commentary, poetry, scriptural text, prayers, musical excerpts, and quotes from well-known persons offer insight into the meaning and history of these symbols. The Symbols of the Church looks both beyond the church building and deep within it to find symbols relevant to Judeo-Christianity. It recalls those principal sacred symbols--sun, moon, stars, architectural figures, time, space--which cultures have made into a universal religious language and which were known to the Christian Church. Then it presents the evolution of the church building through time, from ancient temples to the modern church, Finally, it explores church furnishings and features--the baptistry, the nave, the organ, sacred vessels, the vestiture of church ministers--that are "permanent church signs."