Church of South India logo and the motto
The cross is red (for life) and the lotus is saffron (for holiness).
The motto comes from John 17:21. The church includes Anglicans, Methodists, Presbyterians, Congregationalists and United Reformed congregations.
The cross represents Jesus' death for us, bringing freedom from sin. The other design in the logo is the lotus flower from India, which is a traditional picture of God being near us. The lotus grows out of mud, like the beauty and purity that can grow in our lives out of Jesus' sacrifice.
Lotus, a typical Indian flower, is a temple flower. According to Mythology, Lotus is supposed to be the seat of the creator. “Pankajam” one of the Indian names of lotus has a very significant meaning, it means 'that born in mud'. This flower blossom at the sunrise and withers away after sunset, in other words it lives as long as it receives the sunrays, hence it is also called 'THAMMIPUVE' the flower of the sun. All these meanings are attributed to the flower suit us well to interpret the position, nature and role of the people in the bond of union.The petals of the lotus and the cross are beautifully kitted together with the fiery-tongues of the Holy Spirit. It is an authentic Indian expression of people's communion with God. The original colors, red (for life) and purple (for piety and ecclesiastical) in white backdrop implicitly communicate the nature of the mystical union, where, an inseparable companionship is established, which, again, a typical Indian thought form.The words "THAT THEY ALL MAY BE ONE, CHURCH OF SOUTH INDIA" are embossed in a circle round the lotus and the cross. The words are taken from the high priestly prayer of Jesus Christ who prayed not only for the 'Church' but also for the whole world. Placing the words in a form of circle, a symbol that also represents the universe portrays this universality.
"That they all may be one; that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. (John 17:21)", is an inclusive affirmation which explicitly shows Christ being the center and the church, his body. Since it is also, the prayer of the Church that it is not only churches but all people of India to be united, a prayer for national integration is well taken care of in the emblem.
The imposing central position of the cross in the logo conveys the idea that it was the indefatigable, selfless supreme sacrifice that was made by Jesus on the cross is the basis of the Church. Cross runs through the lotus, as it is painted; it depicts the cleansing act of the cross, working in the hearts of its members, helping to get rid of the mud in which we were born and restoring us to the pristine purity.
The four ends of the cross, painted in deep color indicating that it is the cross that guides all members inside and outside to join in one stream to pray and labor united for a peaceful coexistence and communal harmony. It is said that the world waits for the true interpretation of St. John's gospel from an India mystic. Our logo bridges the gap to certain extent! Saints, prophets, philosophers, theologians still unborn may yet produce many more to whom perhaps in a greater measure that before the truth of God will be revealed and through them to the whole world.
If August 15th of 1947 was a red-letter day in the history of our country for on that day was born a free and independent India, September 27th of the same year was another red-letter day in the history of the Christian Churches for on that day was born Church of South India. Never in the history of the world in one country have two great events of such far reaching importance occurred within the span of less than two months. It is providence that the Church of South India was born free indigenous and autonomous in the same year as the country attained its political freedom.
We have now come to a stage where we begin to perceive the true nature of the responsible unity we have sought for. Any union is an ongoing process of growing together into perfect unity, transcending some of the barriers and overcoming the difficulties that come in the way. Living together and working together with a sense of mission is an art, which the church has mastered through its able leaders, and no doubt we have crossed more than a half century successfully. But let us not forget that the unity is the gift of the Spirit. It is not what we have created or achieved but the sphere of life into which we were drawn by the spirit.
Church is a complex of personal relationships. Life in the church is life together. It speaks of the qualities that people should possess, their attitude to one another. The symbols, the lotus and the cross, used in the logo of the church possess a rich cultural heritage, which will help us understanding of our call and mission.