meanings associated with color in Christian worship, art, architecture and design
are summarized as follows:
Yellow This is the symbol of light
and purity. It speaks of youth, happiness, the harvest, hospitality, love and
benevolence. But since it is also taken as off-white, it can be the color of degradation
of endurance and strength, orange is the color of fire and flame. it represents
the red of passion tempered by the yellow of wisdom. It is the symbol of the sun.
Green Green symbolizes the breaking of shackles, freedom from bondage.
It is the color of fertility. In the Christian context, it represents bountifulness,
hope and the victory of life over death. It is one of the colors associated with
Christmas, and the long season of the Trinity in summer.
Signifies action, fire, charity, spiritual awakening. It also glorifies the sun
and the joy of life and love. In the Christian symbolism, it denotes Holy Spirit.
It is the color of Pentecost.
Black Said to represent the absolute,
constancy, eternity or the womb, black may also denote death, fear and ignorance.
Black is the liturgical color of Good Friday.
Brown is symbolic of the earth and was often the color of a monks robe, signifying
humility and God's connection with the commonplace and the ordinary.
Blue signifies the blue skies or the life-giving air and often signifies hope
or good health. It is an alternate color for the season of Advent.
Purity, virginity, innocence, and birth, are symbolized with this color. White
is the liturgical color of Christmas and Easter.
Purple speaks of fasting, faith, patience and trust. It is the liturgical color
used during seasons of penance, Advent and Lent.
The Fish The fish
has been an important Christian symbol, not only because of the fact that Jesus
included several fishermen in his close circle, but also because The initial letters
of each word in the Greek phrase "Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior"
form the word ICHTHUS, which means "fish."
The Ankh Cross The Ankh Cross is an ancient Egyptian symbol
for life, combining the feminine circle and masculine staff to form the whole.
It was adapted by early Christians because of its resemblance to the cross.
If you want to talk with someone in person, please feel free to call 212-864-5436
The Rev. Charles P. Henderson is a Presbyterian minister and
Executive Director of CrossCurrents.
He is the author of God and Science (John Knox Press, 1986).
A revised and expanded version of the book is appearing here. God and Science (Hypertext Edition,
He is also editor of a new book, featuring articles by world class scientists and theologians, and illustrating the leading views on the relationship between science and religion: Faith, Science and the Future (CrossCurrents Press, 2007).
Charles also tracks the boundry between the virtual and the real at his blog: Next World Design, focusing on the mediation of art, science and spirituality in the metaverse.