When the Church is not preparing for, or celebrating a festival, its aim is always to grow in the grace of God and in the knowledge of its Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
And, since the color of growing things is green, Christians have long decorated their places of worship with green paraments and banners during the days of Ordinary Time following the Christmas and Easter seasons.
Our first banner for Ordinary Time pictures some of the means by which God enables the Church to grow in grace.
The open Bible symbolizes the centrality of God's Word in the life of faith.
The three drops of water symbolize it beginnings in Holy Baptism.
The loaf and the cup symbolize Holy Communion, which nourishes our faith.
And the dove symbolizes the Spirit of God who invisibly and intangibly applies God's grace through these visible and tangible means.
Since all are gifts of God's love; all are mounted on hearts.
But, since the extent to which God's love was willing to go has been made most visible on Calvary, a red cross appears where these fours hearts intersect.
A red cross also appears on the sail of the ship in the center of our second banner for Ordinary Time.
The ship's sail billows with the wind of God's guiding Spirit, again symbolized by a dove.
And reminiscent of the ark that bore Noah and his family safely through the flood, the Church appears in this banner as a sturdy ship which bears the family of God through the storm-swept seas of life.
Outshining all else however, is God's promise of salvation, pictured here as in the story of Noah, as a Shimmering rainbow.
No wonder African slaves in the American South encouraged each other in song to "get on board...the old ship of Zion."