Rome on Images and Liturgy

a Journal of Bible & Theology

I always enjoy getting Interpretation, the Bible/Theology journal published by Union Theological Seminary.  Though I usually don’t agree with everything I read, it is stimulating and enjoyable.  This month (the October 2007 issue — not the picture above), I anxiously scanned the cover only to be let down.  The theme for the month is art and exegesis.  So here I am, sharing a blurb from the first article, “Art and the Liturgy” by Timothy Verdon.  At least we can be reminded about Roman Catholic liturgy and images.

 “As presented in the OT, art becomes a privileged sign of covenant between sinful humanity and the God who, pardoning sin, walks with his people; it is in effect a tangible sign of God’s sacramental presence and the salvation God offers” (361).

“…If Christ is the incarnate ‘icon’ of the invisible Father — the radiance of that glory that Moses yearned to see and could not — it follows that the role of images in the new covenant is ultimately not less but more important than in the old” (362)!

One more: “Images made in the service of liturgy thus automatically become part of a proclamation that is also an encounter, in direct analogy with the sacraments, the signs of salvation, and new life instituted by Christ.  It is from the sacramental liturgy that sacred images draw their ‘power,’ their ‘presence,’ their ‘reality’ (Ibid).”

In response, think of the following with Reformation lenses: hermeneutics, the Regulative Principle of Worship, preaching, the second commandment, and so forth.


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