Sunday, August 3, 2008

Tip Your Hat!

(Exodus 20:4) No carved gods of any size, shape, or form of anything whatever, whether of things that fly or walk or swim. Message

When I was a public school administrator I decorated my office with pictures I thought educationally significant and artistic. One was a painting of an old country classroom and the other a painting of the head of Christ.

I have never had a problem with religious art and yet some folks do have a problem. One of my friend’s, who was aniconic, thought me to be violating the Second Commandment. Well, I struggle with that perception and do not see an infraction.

The thoughts I believed are resident in the Commandment are:
We must worship God in spirit and truth. I do not worship the picture; I do appreciate the art work.
The command forbids worship of a representation. This picture is not taking the place of God.
The Command is against nature worship.

I have often wondered if there is a greater danger in forming a mental image of God or a god. Our minds do have the tendency to wonder and exaggerate thoughts. If we magnify these thoughts of God beyond the Word, is that idolatry?

(Exodus 20:5) Don't bow down to them and don't serve them because I am GOD, your God, and I'm a most jealous God, punishing the children for any sins their parents pass on to them to the third, and yes, even to the fourth generation of those who hate me.

Literal bowing down does not seem to take place today. When I was a kid I watched men tip their hats as they passed the church. I considered that a form of bowing down. But I do not see that act today as hats on men are not fashionable.

I do not see a violation with having an object remind me of God as long as I do not bow down. Consider Moses, “under his auspices, figures of cherubim, brazen serpents, oxen, and many other things in the earth beneath, were made and never condemned. The mere making was no sin - it was the making with the intent to give idolatrous worship.”
Jamison, Fawcett and Brown.

There is a frightening message in knowing that God can be jealous. Actually I do not think jealousy here is an emotion, but as an activity, the activity of being exclusive. God wants total homage.

Now, as the song writer I think about God and am reminded of His greatness.

How Great Thou Art!

And when I think, that God, His Son not sparing;
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin.
Then sings my soul, My Savior God, to Thee,

How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
Then sings my soul, My Savior God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art!

Let the conversation begin!

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