Well first we have to acknowledge that the 10 Commandments have a slightly different in order between Catholics and Methodists.
Catholicism defines the first commandment (according to the Catechism):
I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them.
This commandment says that the LORD is God, You shall have no other gods, and no idolatry.
The Methodist however takes the first part of this commandment as a preface, rather than numbering.
Exodus 20:3 “non habebis deos alienos coram me” - Vulgate
Although we are almost a decade into the 21st century, we still retain our old customs of anthropological worship.
For many years, our Parish has a beautiful statue of Christ the King. The statue was centric to 13hour devotions, processions, etc.
Some years ago, another statue, was installed near the sacristy.
Later on, the Flag post on the terrace above the sacristy was shifted to the grotto, as it was believed that the National Flag cannot be above a statue of Jesus.
Now the two statues vie with each other for public veneration.
Further, during Lent, every week statues are placed in front of the Blessed Sacrament in connection with different Passion scenes.
Animism, where God was worshipped through Nature, was followed by anthropological worship. The bronze serpent set up by Moses in Numbers 21.9 was worshipped by the Jews. This led to Hezekiah destroying the Bronze Serpent (Nehustan), because the Israelites were burning incense to it.
Anthropomorphic worship was followed by Mineramorphic worship.
When Paul was asked about who Jesus was, a God outside the Greek pantheon, he pointed to a statue of the Unknown God erected by the Athenians.”What therefore you unknowingly worship, I proclaim to you. (Acts17:23-24).
The ultimate transition to spiritual worship was explained by Jesus Himself to the woman at the well, who queried as to whether she should follow ancestral worship on the mountain, or Jewish worship in the Temple of Jerusalem.”God is Spirit, and those who Worship Him must worship in Spirit and truth.”(John4:19-24).
John1:1 beautifully states,” In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God”. (En archai, ain ho logos, kai ho logos ain pros ton Theon",)
The beauty of Creation is enough to remind us of our Creator. Psalm 19:1-2: “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the expanse proclaims His handiwork. Day to day utters speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.”
In addition, our very existence as the redeemed of the
Lord, sanctified and made righteous by His blood shed on the cross for our
sins should have Him always before eyes and minds.
Further, most of the images of Jesus portray Him in a softened, quasi-romantic style as a
handsome and winsome young man while, in fact, there was in Him no stately bearing to make us look at Him,
nor appearance that would attract us to Him.
“He Was spurned and Avoided by men,
a Man of suffering, accustomed to infirmity,
Only those from whom men hide their faces,
Spurned and we held him in no esteem.” (Isaiah 53:2-3).
Yet we draw consolation and strength for the awesome power of His Suffering and Death and Resurrection.
“By His Stripes we are Healed.”(Isaiah53:5)
Peter, James, John, and the gospel writers did not give us an image of Christ. Pictures were made later allegedly to ensure white dominance over the world.
The Bible, the very Word of God, is vividly filled with images of Christ that
capture our imaginations and thrill our souls. He is the Light of the
world (John 1:4-5); the very Bread of life (John 6:32-33); the living
Water that quenches the thirst of our souls (John 4:14); the High Priest
Who intercedes for us with the Father (Hebrews 2:17); the Good Shepherd
Who lays down His life for us, His sheep (John 10:11, 14); the spotless
Lamb of God slain before the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8),
the Author and Perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2); the Way, the Truth,
The Life (John 14:6); and the very image of the invisible God (Colossians
1:15). How can we even consider reducing Him to a piece of paper and
hanging Him on the wall?
The litmus test is whether we accept Divinity in the idol, or perceive the idol as Divinity.
Gradually, the image transcends the divine Reality.
Still, we ridicule others who keep images related to their perception of Divinity.
It is often reiterated that we worship Jesus and Venerate Mary. However, if images of Jesus and Mary are juxtaposed, devotees reverently kiss the Image of Jesus along with Mary. If Mary is depicted crushing Satan under her feet, a kiss is often extended to Satan for good measure.
No doubt, statues and images are a flourishing industry. Yet Satan tempted Eve with the apple, saying, ‘You will be like gods. (Gen.3:5).
The golden calf was worshipped when God was Giving Moses the Ten Commandments. (Exodus32:1-24).
At the Last Supper, The World’s First Communion, the Apostles received the body and Blood of Jesus. Thereafter, they went to sleep in the Garden of Gethsemane. (Matthew26:36-45).
His adversaries experienced Jesus and “fell to the ground.”(John18:6).
Paul lucidly explained,”TheGod Who Made the world and all that is in it, the Lord of Heaven and Earth, does not dwell in sanctuaries made by human hands, nor is he served by human hands because He Needs anything. Rather it is He Who Gives to everyone life and breath and everything.”(Acts17:24).Breath is the umbilical cord linking us to God.” before the silver cord is broken…” (Ecclesiastes12.6).
Instead of images of Jesus,let us worship God in Silence and Breath.