Hmmm… this is a subject that has been a tough one for me since I’ve been young.
As I grew up I saw images, statues , of Mary, Christ, John the Baptist, and more orthodox iconic expression, and it bothered me. I see now that much of that was out of misunderstanding, and perhaps out of my cultural lens.
But the kissing and veneration of icons was always a troublesome thing to me. I guess in my mind veneration was akin, if not the same, as worship. We can make anything an idol. You can be kissing your spouse, or your child, and be in the same frame of mind. Chew on that cud a minute.
So, if it’s not really Christ, why kiss it?
I guess I’m viewing things out of my Germanic, Post-Reformation background. Which by nature has a tendency to be literal, exact, and scientific. Yuck.
But you can’t catch God in a box, can you.
We often take younger boys camping with us, and the older boys invariably perpetrate the initiatory “snipe hunt” on them.
We walk around camp, winking at one another, knowing that at dusk there will be 5-6 young boys, sitting in the tall grass after dark, with large paper bags, making strange noises they’ve been told will call a snipe directly to them, and into their bag.
We all have routines, calls, that we use to draw God directly into our ‘bags’. Don’t we.
Perhaps they are more about putting us into the frame of mind to actually hear Him, calling ourselves to Him, the way a small child learns to comfort themselves, rather than calling Him to us.
All that to say that I don’t know about icons, and things. But I do enjoy the artistic expression in them, the imagination that can take a rough piece of marble, and fashion a Peter, or a Paul, or an Elijah.
My routine is often ineffective at calling up God, because sometimes He’s not ready to be found. If we’re honest, we’re not not ready, prepared, to find Him, waiting there, in the secret place of our heart.
The only call I know, that draws Him to us, certainly and without doubt, is the cry of a broken and contrite heart.