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Re: [LutheransLookingEast] Two issues I have

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  • Benjamin Harju
    Bravo, Randall Hay! I think you hit the nail on the head. Even after grasping the logical reasons for the practice, we are just conditioned against it. That
    Message 1 of 8 , Sep 12, 2012
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      Bravo, Randall Hay! I think you hit the nail on the head. Even after
      grasping the logical reasons for the practice, we are just conditioned
      against it. That can be so strong, and so hard to overcome sometimes.

      Regarding the worship end, it's hard to specifically identify what was
      carried over from the Jewish temple and synagogue worship. That part of
      Christian liturgical history isn't entirely clear. Sure people have
      theories, but going by the evidence it is hard to know for sure. I have
      been told by a former orthodox Jewish Rabbi that when he compared the
      liturgical data of Jewish temple worship (before 70 AD, obviously) to the
      structure of the liturgy of St. John Chrysostom that it was a very good
      match. That's what I was told.

      There is a direct continuity between the Old Testament temple and New
      Testament worship that many Protestants aren't aware of, but which is
      firmly embedded in Orthodox worship (East and West). Consider Hebrews 8:5,
      "*They* [Jewish priests] *serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly
      sanctuary; for when Moses was about to erect the tent, he was instructed by
      God, saying, 'See that you make everything according to the pattern which
      was shown you on the mountain.'*" And Hebrews 8:2 where Christ is
      identified as serving in the true sanctuary in heaven. Also Hebrews
      9:11-12, " *But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things
      that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made
      with hands, that is, not of this creation) **he entered once for all into
      the Holy Place, taking not the blood of goats and calves but his own blood,
      thus securing an eternal redemption.*"

      The Jewish temple was a copy of the heavenly one. Having passed over from
      death to life in Christ, our High Priest has fixed our direction for
      worship, if you will, on this heavenly tabernacle. We know from Scripture
      in many places that there is a ceaseless liturgy ongoing in heaven,
      centered in this tabernacle. We understand this tabernacle by virtue of
      its shadow (the Old Testament tabernacle), and by virtue of the experience
      of those who have seen it (Isaiah and St. John the Apostle and Theologian,
      for instance).

      The reality of the kingdom of heaven is centered in Christ, who is seated
      at the right hand of God, who serves in the heavenly tabernacle. Orthodox
      worship has always been seen as participating in that reality. Orthodox
      worship is the communion of that heavenly reality, that heavenly liturgy.
      The priest - more accurately called the presbyter, meaning Elder - is one
      who has received a stewardship in which Christ Himself is at work. It's
      Christ's own priesthood at work at the altar, and in customary fashion
      sinful men are made partakers of the mystery of the kingdom of heaven in
      this way. I say "customary fashion" because that is God's regular goodness
      toward us, that we sinful human beings are drawn into communion with the
      Triune God, and from that communion in faith being made righteous and holy
      and citizens of the new creation that will appear for all to see on the
      Last Day. It's that new creation, now unseen by the world in heaven but
      soon to be revealed, that Orthodox liturgy is all about. In terms of some
      of the pomp and circumstance, some things are drawn from the continuity
      with the Old Testament and presented in the New Testament (the Church is
      properly within the scope of that term) in the light of Christ.

      Having said all that, a lot of Byzantine clerical vestments are heavily
      influenced by the Byzantine court, just as Rome's influence is felt in the
      development of Western vestments. The iconostasis wasn't originally a
      solid wall the way it seems to be now. So you have a mix. The governing
      principle is the heavenly tabernacle, the new creation, and our unity with
      that kingdom of heaven through the celebration of the Eucharist in
      Apostolic Succession.

      I'm a bit tired, so if something's unclear, please ask. Goodnight all! I
      have class in the morning. Pray for my students - they have midterms
      (maniacal laugh, maniacal laugh).

      In Christ,
      Benjamin Harju

      On Wed, Sep 12, 2012 at 11:02 PM, randall hay <stortford@...>wrote:

      > **
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > I'd like to add to one of those bits on venerating icons.
      >
      > I believe the reason Western Christians do not venerate other people is
      > that they have been strongly influenced by the French Revolution, and
      > possibly Karl Marx. (I say that to be historically accurate, by the way,
      > not carelessly.)
      >
      > --The Orthodox word for "venerate" is the Greek 'proskuneo.' Scripture
      > usually uses this verb in describing people venerating others, and the
      > Seventh Ecumenical Council was quite precise in adopting this as the term
      > for venerating icons.
      >
      > But this word is also commonly used of worshiping God!! A quick glance at
      > a concordance will bear this out.
      >
      > In other words, we are to worship God, and also to be exemplary in showing
      > other people respect; to venerate them. If one prefers the language of
      > the KJV, we should 'reverence' them. Other people, after all, were made by
      > God, in His image.
      >
      > According the Bible, then, Christians are the ones who should be most
      > zealous to reverence others....not the Japanese!
      >
      > Nathan bowed to King David; David did three prostrations before Jonathan;
      > Moses venerated his father-in-law; Obadiah bowed down before Elijah; the
      > jailer did a prostration before Paul and Silas; King Solomon showed the
      > greatest solemn honor to his mother, giving her a throne at his right hand,
      > bowing to her and promising to grant her every request. (NOTE: if Solomon
      > offered this kind of respect to Bathsheba, how much should we offer to the
      > mother of Jesus Christ?) These quotes, and more like them, are below.
      >
      > At any rate, this is what Paul means when he tells us to "outdo one
      > another in showing honor" (Rom 12:10, Phil 2:3); when he tells us to honor
      > widows (I Tim. 5:3), parents (Eph 6:2); men like Epaphroditus (Phil 2:19);
      > elders who rule well (I Tim 5:17); why men like Titus should be received
      > with "fear and trembling" (II Cor. 7:15); and what Peter meant by honoring
      > wives (I Pet. 3:7) and honoring "all men" (I Pet 2:17)...etc etc.
      > The statement "I will not bow down to any man," thus, with its overtones
      > of pride, resentment and class struggle, is quite contrary to Scripture.
      > It comes from secular ideologies.
      >
      > In Orthodox services, then, one bows downs not only to icons of the
      > departed saints, but to everyone present. This happens most notably at the
      > beginning of Lent during "Forgiveness Vespers," but often in the meantime.
      > In our parish, for instance, we turn to the people in the nave after
      > venerating the last icon and bow to them....every service.
      >
      > --I apologize for going on so long, but this has become one of my hobby
      > horses. There are several NT words for "reverencing" things, and in modern
      > America it seems like every form of reverence has gone down the tubes,
      > except reverencing our own spoiled egos.
      >
      > We all have the inborn tendency, of course, but I think having habits of
      > reverencing others people helps control the tendency, and fosters the
      > reality that the Kingdom of God is right here among us, with the angels in
      > festal gathering and the spirits of just men made perfect (Heb. 12:22).
      >
      > R.
      >
      > Gen 48:12 Ephraim and Manasseh did reverence to Jacob, with their face to
      > the ground.
      > Ex. 18:7: Moses went forth to meet his father-in-law Jethro, and did him
      > reverence....
      > I Samuel 20:41 David arose...and fell upon his face, and reverenced
      > Jonathan three times, and they kissed each other, and wept for each other.
      > I Samuel 25:23 When Abigail saw David, she made haste, and alighted
      > from the ass, and fell before David on her face), and bowed to the ground.
      > 24 She fell at his feet...
      > I Kings 1:23 (III Kings 1:23 LXX): The prophet Nathan came into King
      > David�s presence, and reverenced the king with his face to the ground.
      > I Kings 18:7 (III Kings 18:7 LXX): Obadiah was alone in the way; and
      > Elijah came alone to meet him: and Obadiah hasted, and fell upon his face
      > , and said, �My Lord Elijah, art thou he?�
      > I Kings 2:19-20 Bathsheba went to King Solomon, to speak to him on
      > behalf of Adonijah. And the king rose to meet her, and bowed down
      > to her; then he sat on his throne, and had a seat brought for the
      > king's mother; and she sat on his right. 20 Then she said, "I have one
      > small request to make of you; do not refuse me." And the
      > king said to her, "Make your request, my mother; for I will
      > not refuse you."
      > Acts 16:29: Paul cried with a loud voice, "Do not harm yourself, for
      > we are all here." 29 And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and
      > trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas, 30 and brought them
      > out and said, "Men, what must I do to be saved?"
      >
      > >________________________________
      > > From: mygourami <mygourami@...>
      > >To: LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com
      > >Sent: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 12:07 PM
      > >Subject: [LutheransLookingEast] Two issues I have
      >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >Thank you for all the resources. I have two issues with Orthodoxy. Since
      > I left the Roman Catholic church during college I have been wary of
      > 'idols'. Its probably universal amongst protestants that you should have no
      > graven image of God (Jesus, or the Holy Spirit). Exodus 20:3-5
      > >
      > >3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
      > >4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any
      > thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is
      > in the water under the earth.
      > >5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them
      > >
      > >So even though I am comfortable with a cross, I am not of a cross with
      > the image of Jesus on it.
      > >
      > >I know I would have to read up on the Ecumenical Council that dealt with
      > the issue of Icons. It has been explained to me somewhat, I just have an
      > aversion to 'idols'. So how is an icon not an idol?
      > >
      > >The second issue I have is with what I perceive as pomp and circumstance.
      > I have been in various protestant venues that are simplistic. I love the EO
      > prayers, the singing, its the priestly garbs, the curtains, the incense...
      > >
      > >So did the former Jews that converted to Christianty in the days of the
      > Apostles just keep the priestly garbs, and other 'temple' worship items
      > intact in the new Christian Church? For example, the sanctuary faces east;
      > the holy word resides in the sanctuary (Bible); the curtains; the Eternal
      > flame; the candlesticks. I know that Lutherans have an altar with the
      > Bible, and an eternal flames and candles. Maybe it was just the curtain
      > that threw me back, why is that there?
      > >
      > >Having been in the home-church circuit for some years, we tried to model
      > them from what we found in Scripture - the NT, what they called New
      > Testament church model. There is mention of bishops and deacons but no
      > priests, that was OT. The priests mentioned in the NT are the Jewish
      > priests, isnt Christ now our high priest?
      > >
      > >I just want to understand, I feel at peace attending Divine Liturgy, its
      > an Antiochan/western rite.
      > >
      > >Maria Briva
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
      >
      >


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Richard K. Futrell
      Randall, No apologies for gong on so long. I have never heard such an explanation before, and it helps clear up some misconceptions (although Lutherans
      Message 2 of 8 , Sep 13, 2012
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        Randall,

        No apologies for "gong on so long." I have never heard such an
        explanation before, and it helps clear up some misconceptions (although
        Lutherans reverence the altar, not to worship the altar but because it
        is the place where Jesus comes to us in His body and blood).

        Have you written a paper on such "reverencing." I'd like to mull
        over this topic theologically. It seems we in the west have a blind
        spot on this when you brought out all the biblical examples.

        Pr RF



        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • randall hay
        Actually, I was thinking last night that I really should get more knowledgeable about this stuff, and writing a blurb might force me to think things through a
        Message 3 of 8 , Sep 13, 2012
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          Actually, I was thinking last night that I really should get more knowledgeable about this stuff, and writing a blurb might force me to think things through a little more clearly.


          ---My thinking about this originally came as I pondered the number of Greek words that have to do with reverencing/venerating, and how we Americans seem to have lost almost all of it..it's as if nothing is holy in the world, or above us....that the Kingdom of Heaven has vanished.

          In fact, while Scripture has a number of words for it, we don't even have a single one!  If we talk about "venerating" people we seem quite mad...likewise "reverencing," and we'd better not try bowing in the workplace, or people will be hinting that we should call the Employee Assistance hotline.  There is a bit about "respect" floating around in our culture, but mostly among overpaid professional athletes.  

          Something unique about the Orthodox approach is that kissing is--literally--often involved. We not only bow, but also kiss.  We kiss our spouses, of course; but also icons, Bibles, crosses, corpses at funerals, the chalice, various holy objects...and people!  "Greet ye one another with a holy kiss."  It's hard to get used to, but it is Scriptural.  God is love...and so bows and kisses go together.  

          Because God blesses veneration, we really don't worry about germs.  If you are sick, nobody cares if they receive Eucharist from the spoon after you did, or venerate the same icons after you did, etc.  This is true even when viruses, colds and the flu are flying around.  We don't get sick more often, so we don't worry about it. 

          R.

















          >________________________________
          > From: Richard K. Futrell <PastorFutrell@...>
          >To: LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com
          >Sent: Thursday, September 13, 2012 8:40 AM
          >Subject: Re: [LutheransLookingEast] Two issues I have
          >
          >

          >
          >
          >Randall,
          >
          >No apologies for "gong on so long." I have never heard such an
          >explanation before, and it helps clear up some misconceptions (although
          >Lutherans reverence the altar, not to worship the altar but because it
          >is the place where Jesus comes to us in His body and blood).
          >
          >Have you written a paper on such "reverencing." I'd like to mull
          >over this topic theologically. It seems we in the west have a blind
          >spot on this when you brought out all the biblical examples.
          >
          >Pr RF
          >
          >[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >

          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • mygourami
          This was very helpful. It helps me understand, as I am the daughter of immigrants (Caribbean Islands) and we always greet family and friends that way and do
          Message 4 of 8 , Sep 14, 2012
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            This was very helpful. It helps me understand, as I am the daughter of immigrants (Caribbean Islands) and we always greet family and friends that way and do venerate our elders so to speak. Its a 'cultural' thing that disappeared when the puritans came over the great pond.

            --- In LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com, randall hay <stortford@...> wrote:
            >
            > Actually, I was thinking last night that I really should get more knowledgeable about this stuff, and writing a blurb might force me to think things through a little more clearly.
            >
            >
            > ---My thinking about this originally came as I pondered the number of Greek words that have to do with reverencing/venerating, and how we Americans seem to have lost almost all of it..it's as if nothing is holy in the world, or above us....that the Kingdom of Heaven has vanished.
            >
            > In fact, while Scripture has a number of words for it, we don't even have a single one!  If we talk about "venerating" people we seem quite mad...likewise "reverencing," and we'd better not try bowing in the workplace, or people will be hinting that we should call the Employee Assistance hotline.  There is a bit about "respect" floating around in our culture, but mostly among overpaid professional athletes.  
            >
            > Something unique about the Orthodox approach is that kissing is--literally--often involved. We not only bow, but also kiss.  We kiss our spouses, of course; but also icons, Bibles, crosses, corpses at funerals, the chalice, various holy objects...and people!  "Greet ye one another with a holy kiss."  It's hard to get used to, but it is Scriptural.  God is love...and so bows and kisses go together.  
            >
            > Because God blesses veneration, we really don't worry about germs.  If you are sick, nobody cares if they receive Eucharist from the spoon after you did, or venerate the same icons after you did, etc.  This is true even when viruses, colds and the flu are flying around.  We don't get sick more often, so we don't worry about it. 
            >
            > R.
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > >________________________________
            > > From: Richard K. Futrell <PastorFutrell@...>
            > >To: LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com
            > >Sent: Thursday, September 13, 2012 8:40 AM
            > >Subject: Re: [LutheransLookingEast] Two issues I have
            > >
            > >
            > > 
            > >
            > >
            > >Randall,
            > >
            > >No apologies for "gong on so long." I have never heard such an
            > >explanation before, and it helps clear up some misconceptions (although
            > >Lutherans reverence the altar, not to worship the altar but because it
            > >is the place where Jesus comes to us in His body and blood).
            > >
            > >Have you written a paper on such "reverencing." I'd like to mull
            > >over this topic theologically. It seems we in the west have a blind
            > >spot on this when you brought out all the biblical examples.
            > >
            > >Pr RF
            > >
            > >[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > >
            >
            > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            >
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