Christians need to get over icons and symbols.
He is over there in my home. I like the rendition. But I do not worship the picture.
No suggestion that we have these things.
Brothers and sisters I find no words in the bible that suggest that we have idols. Not statues. Not pictures and not Crosses or crèches and not event flags. I understand them to be only of man’s desire and not the desire of God.
And so I suggest that perhaps our current battle regarding removing them is God’s will that they lose their significance in worship and hold only tradition of man significance and perhaps worthy historic significance.
Other than very simple altars and temples I find no evidence that we are to construct “monuments” to God. Indeed I find much to the contrary.
Do not get this writer wrong I have visited many shrines and temples and churches and find the ornate and beautiful ones nearly transcending. I just love a good Nativity scene and simply adore the Madonna and Child and have visited St. Peter’s Basilica twice and adore a big cross on a hill and think cemetery crosses are awesome. The Christs above Rio and Vung Tau are awesome. But that does not change my mind. These are to be cherished but should not cause division in man.
This is the same for days we set aside and now just match a convenient calendar for events that fit into our work week with or without holidays. Passover is exceptional but only for Jews. The rest the special days and monuments are just helpful.
What mountain is a shrine?
If this sounds revolutionary it is.
And it should sound in common sense. If we were to be trapped by this world and of worldly things why send a Messiah? Why declare that a rich man must sell all he has and give it away? None of this make sense if worldly treasure is to be exalted over no treasure at all.
There is the matter of “shrines” being curtained off in VA hospital places of worship. Clearly the places of worship are meant for all religions and groups and even atheists to go to to seek solace and contemplation and meditation. Here are some quotes of the “players”:
“We are not a politicizing kind of church,” Pastor Riley told me. “But we also believe Christians have constitutional rights. We have a right to voice our opinion. Just because you are a Christian doesn’t mean you lose your First Amendment rights.”
Riley said the decision to turn the formerly Christian chapel into a religiously neutral room is evidence of a bigger problem.
“Christianity, not only globally, but particularly in the United States, is really under attack,” he said. “Christianity is coming under some horrendous conflict from the media and to some degree from our own government.”
Retired Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin of the Family Research Council called the hiding of Christian icons an “assault on the Christian faith.”
In a written statement to the Rapid City Journal Black Hills Health Care System Director Stephen R. DiStasio said “the VA Black Hills is sensitive to each veteran whose care often includes spiritual counseling and access to their religious symbols. … Their [the chapels] key purpose is to provide a designated space for a religious service at the request of the veteran and their family, a space for personal reflection and a space for community services," he said. "This plan necessitates some changes in the appearance of the chapels, but it continues to support our ability to meet the spiritual needs of veterans and others."
(all appropriate copyright belongs to TODD'S AMERICAN DISPATCH, “VA hospital hides Jesus behind curtain” Todd Starnes By Todd Starnes)
Interesting,,,, but enlightening?
Here is a shrine
"Irreverent"?,,,, you decide.
Some preacher man is pointing to the US Constitution to give us the right to worship and have icons. Shouldn’t he be quoting the Bible? But he cannot. The notion of having little shrines and even non temple places of worship is not suggested or even supported by the bible.
Let us take some fun examples “the sermon on the church of 4th street” “the miracle at the shrine of …..” “the feeding of the five thousand at the statute of Mary” Sorry folks it is the other way around, we build the temples and the shrines where miracles happen. They do not happen where we built a shrine.
So Christ took Peter, James and John up atop a mountain. There they had a face to face with two great Holy men Elijah and Moses, who were long dead of the earth. Jesus was transformed in front of them to an angelic heavenly host. They start in on Jesus about building tabernacles up there to the three holy men. Before they can even get out a full sentence God stops them and says to listen to his son – impliedly not to earthly notions of shrines. The story even ends with them being told not to tell anyone until a much later time.
Clearly there is no great command to worship with idols, even good ones.
So I am not “C”atholic yet I am catholic. The word catholic means like worldly universal. “Global” works pretty well for a translation. The Catholic Church with big “C”s means more like a name of a church. And truly a church that can trace it’s roots to something that connects it all the way to Peter. (it takes some leaps of faith, but hey that is fine by me)
But I did study and in the ordinary taught catechism and in the law studied the canons. And here are the positions on idols.
"Sacred images in our churches and homes are intended to awaken and nourish our faith in the mystery of Christ. ………Through the icon of Christ and his works of salvation, it is he whom we adore. Through sacred salvation, it is he whom we adore. Through sacred images of the holy Mother of God, of the angels and of the saints, we venerate the persons represented." Catechism, pg. 307, #1192
"The practice of displaying sacred images in the churches for the veneration of the faithful is to remain in force ..." Code of Canon Law, Can. 1188
"Following the divinely inspired teaching of our holy Fathers and the tradition of the Catholic Church (for we know that this tradition comes from the Holy Spirit who dwells in her) we rightly define with full certainty and correctness that, like the figure of the precious and life-giving cross, venerable and holy images of our Lord and God and Savior, Jesus Christ, our inviolate Lady, the holy Mother of God, and the venerated angels, all the saints and the just, whether painted or made of mosaic or another suitable material, are to be exhibited in the holy churches of God, on sacred vessels and vestments, walls and panels, in houses and on streets." Catechism, pg. 300, #1161
As Scholars we miss two concepts here. There is no reference to scripture and there is no setting forth of when the traditions began. This creates much suspicion as to wealth.
I am not free lest I be free of man. I am known by what I stand for and I stand for love.
This is not out of thin cloth but real in testament.
"Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above,or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God..." Exodus 20:4, 5
"Neither shalt thou set thee up any image; which the LORD thy God hateth." Deuteronomy 16:22
Exodus 20:4, 5, 23
Deuteronomy 5:7-9; 4:15-19, 23, 24, 28; 6:14; 7:16; 8:19
Leviticus 26:1 "Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither
rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone
in your land, to bow down unto it: for I am the LORD your God."
Go ahead and call me crazy but that is pretty straightforward. But it is applied into an old testament. So I conclude that it is about a state of degree. Put them up for fun and adoration. But take them down if they cause strife.
Oh I reckon.
I think I am a sinner. And I think these icons and shrines sin not. So I cannot judge them. But even us sinners have opinions.