Icons and crucifixes

 

In Belgium the “Roman Catholic Church” has dominated for years and brought in a lot of tradition, though many based on the old Celtic traditions. To be able to win more souls Catholic Church has always been very handy to adopt many of the local traditions and insert them in their local liturgy. Because of that you can notice lots of differences between a Holy Mass done in Western Europa, Africa or Asia.

In many Belgian houses it has been the tradition to put onto the walls a cross, to keep away the demons out of the house. According to the choice or taste of the person it could be a very old fashion cross or a modern one,  an empty piece of wood or metal, or a cross with a figure on it. The Mosaic Law prohibits any pictures of God and warns Gods people not to pray to any figurines, statues or any pictures of gods. The Catholics and many Christians do say Christ Jesus is God and use painting and statues of this god to pray to. This being agains the Law of God, written in the Holy Scriptures.

Jesus Christ Crucifix
Jesus Christ Crucifix (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Enter the Church that preaches “Christ crucified” (1 Corinthians 1:23).  For Catholics, the crucifix (the cross that is not empty, but has the figure of the crucified saviour upon it) is everywhere – it’s around many believers necks, hanging in their living, kitchen, bedroom, in their schools and even in some offices. Often it is central in their churches, but most importantly, for Catholics it should be emblazoned upon their hearts.

Some priests or pastors would like to recommend gazing upon the crucifix from time to time – because according to them it is a reminder of the love of God for us, but even more importantly, it re-centers the soul upon him whom it should be focused on as much as possible. They do forget that our first focus should be on the Creator of all things, God our heavenly Father and the Father of Jesus Christ.

Putting up a crucifix on the wall is like putting a picture of the most beloved son car-wreck in which he died. When you would have a beloved who died in car-crash or on a ship, would you put photos of the wrecked ship/car everywhere in the house? Would you put a picture on the walls of the human wreck? Several Christians do like to remember Christ Jesus that way, as an awful person full of agony, hanging lost, to die. Instead of heaving pictures of his resurrection they do prefer to present all the suffering. For them those pictures seem to be the only way how they can remember the offering Jesus has given the world. The cruelty and brutality has to be pictured to be taken up in the mind of the believers and to be accepted as something cruel which had to happen to save the world.

For many the crucifix can cause even the most hardened soul to contemplate things it may not wish to contemplate.  It is like otherwise they are not able to see their Saviour upon the stake, dying for all the world out of love. It seems that otherwise they would not be able to see in it their redemption and his limitless love for us.  They want to take it as the only true symbol that can ground them, and remind them of what their central focus should be.

Many people do light a candle before one’s crucifix, and kneel in prayer before it.  They speak to Christ upon the cross in prayer, contemplate his wounds that he suffered for them, and come to the realization of how very much indeed he loves them.  It is a pity that they can not come to the understanding of the big offer Jesus brought for them, without such a visual heathen picture and heathen actions.

They should remember that concerning things sacrificed to idols, pictures or statues Christians should know that they should have enough knowledge to know better. They have learned that offerings to statues does not bring anything better or worse to them or others.
Christians should also know that no idol is [anything] in the world, and that there is no God but one. For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or on earth; as there are gods many, and lords many;  yet to them there should be only one God, the Father, of whom are all things are. Also we should be of this Father as we should be in Christ like Christ was in God, we unto Jeshua the Messiah whom we have as our master; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and we through him.

“1  now about food sacrificed to idols: we know that, as you say, “we all have knowledge.” yes, that is so, but “knowledge” puffs a person up with pride; whereas love builds up. 2 the person who thinks he “knows” something doesn’t yet know in the way he ought to know. 3 however, if someone loves god, god knows him. 4  so, as for eating food sacrificed to idols, we “know” that, as you say, “an idol has no real existence in the world, and there is only one god.” 5 for even if there are so-called “gods,” either in heaven or on earth—as in fact there are “gods” and  “lords” galore— 6 yet for us there is one god, the father, from whom all things come and for whom we exist; and one lord, Yeshua the Messiah, through whom were created all things and through whom we have our being. 7  but not everyone has this knowledge. moreover, some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat food which has been sacrificed to them, they think of it as really affected by the idol; and their consciences, being weak, are thus defiled.” (1 Corinthians 8:1-7 CJB)

Like the people in the time before Christ were not allowed to make unto them a graven image, nor the likeness of any form that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth, we should not use any image to pray for or to use in our worship. We only should worship the Only One God, not having to have any picture or statue to remind of Him or His son. The memory of the son and the memory of the Most High should be engraved in our heart.

“you are not to make for yourselves a carved image or any kind of representation of anything in heaven above, on the earth beneath or in the water below the shoreline.” (Exodus 20:4 CJB)

In case Jesus would be God then surely those Christians who believe that, should put away all images of Christ Jesus away and not burn candles in front of it or kneel down in front of it, because that would be blasphemy in the eyes of the Lord.

English: The icon was painted by artist Nichol...
English: The icon was painted by artist Nicholas Morosoff in 1935 at the request of Bishop Wedgwood for the St Francis Church in Tekels Park, Camberley, and hangs above its main altar. Courtesy Liberal Catholic Church of St Francis of Assisi. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Long ago, images and icons were beaten to pieces. There were people who rightly assumed that no effigies could be there to worship. The destruction of the property of others was wrong. But if we ourselves have such pictures or images in the house, we must be careful that we do not pray or use them to worship. there should be a clear separation of the icon as art or as a religious object.

Do you have a crucifix hanging on the wall? How to proceed there? What do you do with it?

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Dutch version: Kruisen en Iconen stukslaan

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  • The Greatest Moment in History (iseekhim.com)
    “The crucifix is a sign that Jesus’ greatest moment in the world was when people thought He was defeated. The crucifix points to the greatest moment in history.”
  • Why One Should Gaze Upon the Crucifix Often… | Ascending Mount Carmel (amhec.wordpress.com)
    Growing up as a Seventh-Day Adventist, the crucifix was an entirely Catholic thing – over there somewhere, buried amongst the many evils and frightening aspects of the Babylonian aggressor that was viewed as the “Roman Catholic Church”.
  • Communist authorities force Catholics to replace crucifix with picture of Ho Chi Minh… (ucanews.com)
    Government authorities from a district in the Central Highlands last week compelled ethnic villagers to remove Catholic pictures and items from their chapel and replaced them with images of Ho Chi Minh last weekend.
  • Jon Kay: Dear Ms. Marois, does my chai pendant count as a banned ‘religious sign’? (fullcomment.nationalpost.com)
    As Graeme Hamilton reported this week, PQ leader Pauline Marois is promising Quebecers a “Charter of Secularism” that would prevent public-sector workers from brandishing “conspicuous religious signs.” But she is employing a rather selective definition of “conspicuous” here. Crosses and crucifixes — like the big one that hangs in Quebec’s National Assembly — would be exempt; while Muslim headscarfs, Jewish yarmulkes and Sikh kirpans would be verboten.

If you ask me, the law would be a lot more clear if the word “conspicuous” were simply replaced with “ethnic.” Ms. Marois is just fine with religion per se. It’s the kind that comes with an accent and a suntan she doesn’t like.
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here’s the devilish part: Even the cross and the crucifix — the non-ethnic religious symbols that Ms. Marois likes because they’ve “allowed the Quebec people to survive on American soil” — can be problematic.

That’s because, as this web pageshows us, the familiar Christian symbol comes in a bewildering number of variations. And some, I hate to inform Ms. Marois, are brandished primarily by immigrants.

  • Christ Crucified(samuelatgilgal.wordpress.com)J. C. Rylereminds us that the church cannot be the Church unless the doctrine of the cross is central in its teaching:+Whenever a Church keeps back Christ crucified, or puts anything whatever in that foremost place which Christ crucified should always have, from that moment a Church ceases to be useful. Without Christ crucified in her pulpits, a church is little better than a cumberer of the ground, a dead carcass, a well without water, a barren fig tree, a sleeping watchman, a silent trumpet, a speechless witness, an ambassador without terms of peace, a messenger without tidings, a lighthouse without fire, a stumbling-block to weak believers, a comfort to infidels, a hot-bed for formalism, a joy to the devil, and an offence to God. (“The Cross of Christ”)
  • Quebec election: Crucifix stays, but hijabs go under Parti Quebecois government, party leader says (calgaryherald.com)
    Parti Québécois leader Pauline Marois shakes hands with a supporter outside a former sawmill during a campaign stop in Trois Rivières on Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2012.
  • Canada’s Own Little Racist Secret (zwingliusredivivus.wordpress.com)
    Attention public servants: turbans, kippahs and hijabs will not be allowed in the workplace under a Parti Québecois government, but by all means, sport that crucifix, as long as it’s not too ostentatious.  The party hoping to form the next government Sept. 4 tried to expand on its contradictory plan to protect Quebec values during a campaign stop Tuesday in Trois Rivières.“We don’t have to apologize for who we are,” said PQ leader Pauline Marois, while saying the so-called charter of secularism would be adopted as soon as they come to power. “We are one of the most tolerant and open people on the planet, but we want our values, such as equality between the sexes, respected by everyone.”

 

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