There are many religions that feel anything that shows any form of God,be it statue,picture or crucifix,is idol worship.
Being once Catholic and now Orthodox,has put me into two faiths that feel the more statues and Icons the better.
Just enter either an Orthodox or Catholic Church and you will understand the importance of these reminders of God,Mother of God,Angles,Apostles and Saints.
This week we had a religous study on Icons,how they are made,the colors used and why,even the training an Iconographer has to go through in order to properly make these glimpses into heaven,and that what Icons are considered,windows into the heavens.
Back in the days when people were unable to read they used this form of religous telling,to relate and understand the importance of the stories found in the Bible, better understanding their faith.
Once a country learns to read then they need to incorporate these works of faith into peoples daily lives on a different basis.
As with everything in life there are multiple rules as to where you should place Icons in your home,the east wall is always the best,also it should be centrally located in your home for all to view and use,the candles that should be placed near by,prayer books,Bible,holy water and oils,palms or other seasonal things should also be nearby.
Your Icons should consist of one of Jesus,one of his mother Mary and the ones your household family feels personal about,maybe a family saint or personal Icon of each person in your household.
I must admit that although I have done most of this in our parlor,it was never done by rules,things that were suppose to be near by just seemed to end up where they should be near my Icons.
Though this is not a prayer area for me,its always nice to be facing t.v. and looking up to see the Icon of Jesus the Teacher looking back at me.
My own personal prayer area is my bedroom,there I have an etching of Jesus hugging a lamb to his shoulder.
It is such a touching picture to me that many is the time I just stare at its simple
beauty and rub its face.
This etching is really more of a reminder to me of Jesus then all of my gold painted beautiful Icons down stairs in the parlor.
What this tells me is that we are all touched and reached by certain religious things,and if it brings you closer to God it has done its job.
No Icon,picture or statue is to be used as an idol,we don't pray to the them, we pray to God,but since we are human,sight is very important to us and helps us have a more open communication with the Almighty.
I explain Icons to people who ask me why I pray to a picture in this way,If a close family member called me on the phone and I had not seen them in a very long time,I might pick up their near by photograph and lovingly stare or hug their image while speaking to them in our phone conversation.
I know this picture is not the voice talking to me,but a likeness,yet it makes me feel closer to them because I can see their image smiling back at me.
The picture is only the image but the words I speak to them are more loving because
I am viewing them on paper,I can hold it to my bosom just as I would them if they were standing next to me at that moment.
The paper and frame are nothing but the image is a reminder of my love for that person.
An Icon is not meant to be God but it is meant to be a reminder that he is ever present with us and we have invited him into the center of our homes and that is very important to him,God will never enter your home unless you invite him to.
And the center is where he wants to be in your world.