No Graven Image
"Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any 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: thou shalt not bow down thyself to them nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God" (Exodus 20:3-5). Jack Sparks questions whether icons are graven images and go against what is said in the bible in the pamphlet, "No Graven Image." Sparks defines icons as "painted images of Jesus Christ and His followers who, through the centuries of our history as the Church, have been portrayed for all to see" (1). He explains that graven images are images that are worshipped or adored because God is the only thing to be worshiped. Icons are images that are to be venerated or respected. Therefore, icons are not graven images.
I agree that icons are not graven images. They help us worship God and celebrate our faith. Sparks mentions that blank walls in a church symbolize emptiness. Icons in the church enrich the celebration of God by keeping us interacted with the service. Images like the cross, grapes, and peacocks and pictures of Jesus and his followers remind us of why we are Christians. People learn better with images rather than words. We often get bored or lost with words. Pictures keep us interested. We can look at an icon that shows a story in the bible, and we will remember the story much better than if we had only read the story. The picture makes the story more real, and we are able to understand it better. It is hard for us to understand people in the bible if we do not have an image in our head of what they may look like. Icons provide us an image of their appearances and help us see the invisible and spiritual. Icons will help us grow in the image and likeness of God.