Church worship and icons

A friend of mine posted today some thoughts I’ve also shared and discussed with other ministry friends concerning church worship and icons. I haven’t blogged about it, though, until now.

Here’s what she said:

…why do we put so much focus on the people playing the instruments and singing up front[?] Why don’t we put them in the back, or something? People seem to focus on the people up there, instead of God. I know that (well, girls at least) talk about what the people are wearing, and the motions that they did, etc. That’s not focusing on God. Why don’t we just put them in the back, or how can we as humans trying to worship train our minds to focus on God and not those things happening around us?

This really happens all the time, doesn’t it? During the singing part of worship on Sunday mornings, it’s easy to focus on so many other things. “Man, the projector is really dim. We need to turn more lights off in here. And why don’t they make the lyrics a larger font?” or “Did those sunglasses really stay on his head through the whole service or did he just put them back on for the closing song?” I’m not sure it’s possible or even our job to remove all distractions from the worship place since worship ultimately takes place in the heart and life of the individual, but maybe there’s a couple easy steps we could take to make the environment more conducive for it.

And then there’s the use of icons in worship, which has been popular for centuries. In protestant churches we tend to lean toward the icon of the cross, but why should this is our main focus? I mean, yeah, Jesus suffered and died on a cross because of our sin and it’s definitely an important event to remember, but maybe His resurrection is equally as important. If there was only a cross and a dead Jesus then Christianity wouldn’t exist anyway. His resurrection proves that He defeated both physical and spiritual death (the penalty for our sin). Otherwise, death would’ve won. Although using the cross to remember his crucifixion is legitimate and important, I wish we had more icons of empty tombs around to remind us to celebrate His resurrection. Lilly’s once a year doesn’t seem to cut it.

Posted on June 26, 2006

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