Explaining the four quadrants of the logo, their colours and relations:
Beginning in the bottom left we note (on the website or on the screen) that the colour of that quadrant is purple – representing both the season of Advent (and Lent) which call us into those times of change and transition in our lives. In our fourfold pattern of the Gospels, it also represents the Gospel of Matthew, which although it is not the first gospel to be written, is presented to us by the tradition of the church as the first gospel to be read. Matthew was written to Messianic Jews (Jewish Christians) who were trying to work out what the heck they were meant to do after the city and temple of Jerusalem were destroyed by the Romans. The whole community was torn apart in an intense grief. So Matthew uses the mountain as a key metaphor.
In the upper left part of the cross the circles are red. Seasonally, we use red for blood and fire – the witness of the blood of the martyrs and of Jesus on Good Friday and the fire of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost (and Confirmation). For our journey through the gospels, this quadrant is for the Gospel of Mark – the gospel written in the mid sixties in Rome, when under the emperor Nero many Christians were suffering greatly in his persecutions. So this gospel begins to answer the question of what we do when everything around us is in chaos, and we are suffering greatly. Mark likes to use the stormy sea as a metaphor.
3. Joy and Hope
In the third quadrant golden hues dominate. Liturgically, this is for the season of Christmas and Easter. The Gospel of John is not read during a particular liturgical year, but rather it intersperses other seasons – Lent, Easter and many feast days. The gospel is very different to the other three gospels (which we call synoptic – able to be seen with one eye) and is built around long, philosophical narratives and stories. John likes to use the Garden of Eden as a key metaphor. Written at the end of the first century, it is likely that this gospel was used as a series of metaphors to help prepare Christians for baptism.
Finally we come to the largest quadrant, coloured in green to represent the season of discipleship and growth (so prosaically called ‘Ordinary Time’ – blah!) This is also the new liturgical year that we begin today – the Year of Luke (or Year C). Luke was written as a two-volume account of the life and ministry of Jesus (Luke) and the early church community (Acts). The schism between the church as the newly developing Rabbinical Judaism continues to deepen, raising questions about the appropriate response to hurt and injustice. Luke’s answer is found in the metaphor he chooses – everything happens here on the road – while travelling to Jerusalem and scattering in mission and service.