To quote Christ:Matthew 10:38
"And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.
Some Christians take it literally, and drag crosses everywhere--yes, it's out of context, but I don't find it something to argue with my brothers
and sisters over. They are being obedient as best they understand.
Really devout Jews, to this day, have these little boxes that they tie to their foreheads and hands called phylacteries. In it, they put a verse or
two of the Law (some piece of the first 5 books of the OT). Why? They were told to.
Deuteronomy 6: 6-9
6 "These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. 7 "You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of
them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. 8 "You shall bind them as a sign on your
hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. 9 "You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
Then there's communion: drink the blood and flesh of Christ.
Why? About the same reason why people carry lucky rabbit's feet (superstitions), or plaster ribbons on things (causes), or have alarms for certain
times of the day (regulation of life). The categories are far wider than this, but the root cause of such behaviors is because we're creatures of
habit. 21 days to actively make or break a habit--and it's this quick only when we're being really active about it.
If we're not in the habit of actively involving ourselves in the things we believe in, we cease to dwell on them, and often forget to live by them.
In the instance of something like moral boundaries, it's better for human nature to constantly think on what is good or bad for society. It would
certainly help ease hypocrisy, at the minimum.
The more amusing part, to me, is that when we no longer care about something like, oh, hygiene, it's not something that goes south all at once. It's
usually, "Oh, I can skip today!" then "Two day's won't leave me that bad off!" then there comes the day when your smell is so bad, people
can't be around you without throwing up in their mouth a little. By that time, you likely can't smell yourself because you've acclimated to what
you are doing to your body.
So, now back to this praying at a cross, which to me feels like "God in a Box", and drives me batty. We are supposed to be remembering that there
was a sacrifice, for our sake. There are expectations, and an offered relationship that comes with this--as well as a way out of whatever mess
we've made out of our lives. Not a "no more consequences" in this life, mind you, but definitely a "get out of Jail, free" card. A physical
piece can help with focusing on why we pray, and remind us what chain we're yanking on.
So, there are benefits.
That being said, if you carve yourself a little fetish, a spirit guide, a small god, and pray to it, what are you literally doing? You made this
thing, what power does it have over your life? When Christians point out the silliness of praying to an object that holds no power, and we keep
iconography, we're asking for people to think we're a bit daft. The God of the OT did not want images carved, to be worshiped. It really wasn't
addressed in the NT.
But a lot of Christian symbolism was used as more of an underground communication system when they were not in favor. If it ever got back to that,
since most of our iconography is so well known, we'll have to make more.