OrthodoxChristianity.net
September 22, 2014, 04:22:54 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Reminder: No political discussions in the public fora.  If you do not have access to the private Politics Forum, please send a PM to Fr. George.
 
   Home   Help Calendar Contact Treasury Tags Login Register  
Pages: « 1 2 3 4 »  All   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Does incense help God, you, or really do anything?  (Read 14267 times) Average Rating: 0
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
NicholasMyra
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Antiochian/Greek
Posts: 5,894


Avowed denominationalist


« Reply #45 on: October 11, 2011, 06:05:07 PM »

After all the stuff... Icons... Incense... Crossing one's self.... iconostasis.... antimention.... etc.

What are you left with?

Are "these tools & symbols" only in existence because of the lack of faith?
Origen would agree with you. He thought that all of material existence was a result of fallen spirituality.

But, you know, he was wrong.
Logged

Quote from: Orthonorm
if Christ does and says x. And someone else does and says not x and you are ever in doubt, follow Christ.

"You are philosophical innovators. As for me, I follow the Fathers." -Every heresiarch ever
Deacon Lance
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Byzantine Catholic
Jurisdiction: Archeparchy of Pittsburgh
Posts: 2,909


Liturgy at Mt. St. Macrina Pilgrimage


« Reply #46 on: October 11, 2011, 06:09:38 PM »

Yes it really does help us.  It is a natural spirit-lifter, scientifically proven.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080520110415.htm
Logged

My cromulent posts embiggen this forum.
NicholasMyra
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Antiochian/Greek
Posts: 5,894


Avowed denominationalist


« Reply #47 on: October 11, 2011, 06:30:15 PM »

Yes it really does help us.  It is a natural spirit-lifter, scientifically proven.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080520110415.htm
Fascinating! Now I can finally get incense and say it's for depression and not hyperdoxy.  Wink
Logged

Quote from: Orthonorm
if Christ does and says x. And someone else does and says not x and you are ever in doubt, follow Christ.

"You are philosophical innovators. As for me, I follow the Fathers." -Every heresiarch ever
sainthieu
Abstractor of the Quintessence
High Elder
******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Antiochian
Posts: 621


« Reply #48 on: October 11, 2011, 06:42:08 PM »

The consensus of answers I have gotten is that incense is basically a faith crutch, because our prayers wouldn't be "in the mood" without it.

Uh, no. The incense is Tradition, and Tradition is important---it's an historical legacy and it has all the effects mentioned above---but it's not the essence of the faith. For example, if an atom bomb were to fall on my house and I had to worship without incense, or icons, or my prayer rope, or a covering on my head, my worship would be just as authentic. If you remember, many famous ascetics existed in the desert on 'nothing'; St. Mary of Egypt, for instance, didn't even wear clothes. (I wonder where she kept her incense.)

In order to understand why the subtraction of these items does not diminish the character of the Orthodox faith,  you have to develop a greater theological understanding of Orthodox Christianity and how it differs from what you may have experienced as "Christianity." Much of what passes for Christianity in the US is based on misinterpretation, misguided, or just plain wrong.

Many converts are too easily enticed by the aesthetics of the Orthodox Church, ignoring the fact that, in the final analysis, Orthodoxy calls on us to be reborn, empty ourselves, become dwelling places of the Holy Spirit, pick up our crosses, and follow Christ to martyrdom, if need be.

Quo vadis? Where are you going? Are you preparing yourself for the moment you will be called on to step in front of your enemy to take a bullet that was meant for him? Or are you headed to the store to buy more incense?

JALatimer:

Uh, yeah.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2011, 06:54:02 PM by sainthieu » Logged
HabteSelassie
Ises and I-ity
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church
Posts: 3,332



« Reply #49 on: October 11, 2011, 06:56:21 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

The purpose of physical worship such as prostrations, incense, icons, buildings, books, chants, etc etc is not to get a person "closer to God" in the sense that proximity to God is limited by these.  God is not limited by Incense, however, as it has been explained, these kinds of physical worship are deeply ritualistic and symbolic of the deeper, underlying meaning and intent.  When a person offers Incense with their prayers, or prayers before the presence of Holy Icons, or performs certain prostrations or recites particular written prayers, these are symbolic of the underlying inner intention of that individual to get closer to God with prayer.  These should not be assumed to "force God's hand" or to earn God's Grace or favoritism in matters of our lives, that is not prayer.  Prayer is communication with God, not a wishlist or a complain department.  As such, physical attributes of prayer are highly symbolic of the inner feelings of yearning to get closer to God and to communicate.

Yes, incense and icons are sensory reminders of prayer, and they serve this function, but it is deeper than that.  After all, God can speak for Himself by His own power, He doesn't need incense to communicate with us, and we don't need it to remember Him, He is not merely a memory which we recapitulate on like the family photo-album, rather we can always know God in the present tense.  However, still there is a need for these symbolic actions and gestures, not merely to remind us our capture our attentions, but to manifest the deeper realities of our intentions.

If I want to communicate with you, I have to call you directly on the phone, or actually type up this email, or tap you on the shoulder and say, "hey" but I can rarely achieve good communion telepathically. In other words, I actually have to do something in verb sense, otherwise I am just thinking about communicating.  While we can communicate with God beyond physical, because He Himself is beyond physical, we still remain physical beings during our prayer.  This is why we use physical gestures and tools to accompany our prayer, not  because it benefits God, or enhances God's Grace, but because it benefits ourselves, and enhances our own sense of awareness.

God is beyond incense, but we are not.  God's Grace is beyond incense, but we must show God in our symbolic actions that our intentions are sincere.  In using the incense or the icons, we are showing God in a physical way our intentions.  God knows our hearts, but we ourselves need to use these physical gestures to keep our attentions focused.  God doesn't need them, we do.  That is what symbolism is.  Symbols are objects or actions which convey and communicate deeper, underlying, and hard to explain meanings.  It is further deeper than just trying to maintain a sense of awareness, rather like any kind of sport or dance, the purpose of the gestures is in the gestures themselves because these are the actions and activities.  Prayer is not limited by incense, but incense is definitely prayer in action, symbolic of our own hearts and intentions acting on God.



We don't worship God with incense, we symbolize our worship, but the symbols should not negate the power of God, and neither should the power of God negate the potency of the symbolism.  Actually, these cooperate.  The symbol is the manifestation in the verb sense of our worship, of our communicating efforts, of our prayer.  

Let me ask the flip side, what really is the harm with incense or icons in prayer?

stay blessed,
habte selassie
Logged

"Yet stand aloof from stupid questionings and geneologies and strifes and fightings about law, for they are without benefit and vain." Titus 3:10
orthonorm
Hoplitarches
*************
Offline Offline

Faith: Sola Gratia
Jurisdiction: Outside
Posts: 16,506



« Reply #50 on: October 11, 2011, 07:02:58 PM »

what really is the harm with incense

Triggering of an allergic asthma attack which then triggers an episode of unstable angina which leads to death.

All that I've had, except that death part, I think . . .
Logged

Ignorance is not a lack, but a passion.
Hiwot
Christ is Risen!
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church
Posts: 1,959


Job 19:25-27


« Reply #51 on: October 11, 2011, 08:10:03 PM »

Selam all  Smiley

I will ask you if you would answer me, Yoshuwa, how you suppose that we are helping the LORD GOD via incense. I do not know the way you refer to, so if would clarify it,  then maybe i will understand what you mean enough respond to it if i can. In the mean time let us talk on the rest of your question. We cannot talk of the Faith without talking about relationships, and it has to do with ourselves, with our neighbors, and with God. So as   orthodox Christians this relationship is greatly highlighted in how we worship.

Incense, is sprinkled on burning coal to burn freely and emit abundant white smoke of very sweet fragrance.
 
It burns symbolizing the zeal that animates the faithful (notice it is referring to their lives in the fullest sense of the word that includes the body soul and spirit united with His Love)

The rising smoke symbolizes the ascent of prayer before the Throne of the Almighty (again prayer is life it is living, it’s not only talking, its meaning is far deeper than that so as such our prayer rises before God as we lift up our heart Revelation 8:3-4 Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all the saints, on the golden altar before the throne the smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of the saints, went up before God from the angel's hand. Psalm 141:2 ‘Let my prayer be set forth before you as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice’.   )


The sweet fragrance,( the fragrance of the Christian virtue :Ephesians 5:2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us, and has given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling fragrance., Colossians 3:4 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. So everything of ours that is offered in love  even to one another is symbolized as a fragrant offering , an acceptable sacrifice pleasing to God  as st. Paul says to the Philippians 4:18 I have received full payment and even more; I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God.)
 

MOST IMPORTANTLY IMHO this:

Ultimately it is God who accepts prayers, sacrificial offerings, who animates all, and this is why the wise men brought Him incense as one of the gifts at His Nativity, to indicate His Divinity: He that is Born is no ordinary human king, but the Eternal Logos Incarnate, who has the authority to accept prayers, sacrificial offerings, and IS the animator of all as the incense is animated by the fire. ) so it is the testament of Our Faith that we offer the incense to witness this fundamental statue of our faith. To God we offered incense in imperfect priesthood  before in the Old Covenant even more so now To the Same God who became our Highpriest and perfected our priesthood we offer Him incense in the fullness of the New and Everlasting Covenant!!! Glory be to God! This is the Orthodox Faith!
 
and to conclude:
Incense has other purposes as well, as already mentioned by many here, along with the bells with the icons, with the candle lights, etc. it helps our senses to actively engage and participate in the beauty, delight and mystery of worship.

This is not all thats there about incence, but this is all I could think of now. Hope this might help in some way though.

Selam hunu. Smiley

Logged

To God be the Glory in all things! Amen!

Only pray for me, that God would give me both inward and outward strength, that I may not only speak, but truly will; and that I may not merely be called a Christian, but really be found to be one. St.Ignatius of Antioch.Epistle to the Romans.
PeterTheAleut
The Right Blowhard Peter the Furtive of Yetts O'Muckhart
Section Moderator
Protospatharios
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 32,220


Lord, have mercy on the Christians in Mosul!


« Reply #52 on: October 11, 2011, 08:40:42 PM »

Wouldn't real faith involve absolute sincere 100% prayer and dialog with God even while sitting in raw sewage?
Do you have this kind of faith?
Logged
Marc1152
Toumarches
************
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Rocor
Posts: 12,821


Probiotic .. Antibiotic


« Reply #53 on: October 11, 2011, 08:43:01 PM »

In addition to having some symbolic significance, I would suggest that incense also helps prepare one's consciousness for worship, if only by way of association. When I am silently saying prayers on a bus, for example, I can sometimes distinctly smell incense. I assume this is because my brain associates worship with incense. Icons, incense, vestments, even church buildings are all just there to support and reinforce our life of prayer... aren't they?

Exactly.. It's not meant to "Help God". It's meant to help us. When we are ready for prayer, God is pleased.

Lets take the opposite situation. You come to Church smelling of the night before. You have flatulence. Is  your prayer as mindful? Is the prayer of those around you disturbed? Would that be as God Pleasing a situation as before?

I know what you are saying, but you are making my point.

What you are saying is that if you fart your prayers won't be as good than if you had something that smelled good.  
Isn't that a lack of true faith in your prayer?  Our prayers should be a heartfelt and dedicated to God whether we are in raw sewage or in a mansion?

The consensus of answers I have gotten is that incense is basically a faith crutch, because our prayers wouldn't be "in the mood" without it.

Well.. you seem to an agenda so I wont waste too much time on this.

Yes, your seriousness and disposition all add or subtract to the depth of your prayer life. It is not a mechanical operation like turning over a car engine where it either turns over or doesn't start. Mindfulness, depth of prayer and your disposition and intent all go into your prayer.


« Last Edit: October 11, 2011, 08:46:54 PM by Marc1152 » Logged

Your idea has been debunked 1000 times already.. Maybe 1001 will be the charm
Hiwot
Christ is Risen!
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church
Posts: 1,959


Job 19:25-27


« Reply #54 on: October 11, 2011, 09:18:03 PM »

what really is the harm with incense

Triggering of an allergic asthma attack which then triggers an episode of unstable angina which leads to death.

All that I've had, except that death part, I think . . .

wow! I am  so sorry to hear this orthonorm, there was one priest I know who suffers from asthma attack due to incense too, when he was doing service which is very rare, it was with as little incense as possible. even then you could hear him struggle sometimes and he was such a sweet person and we felt so terrible for him. your case seems to be a severe one , may be you need to tell your priest about this before you go to the DL, and do not stand close to the altar and find a more ventilated area, do not go to church without some epi- or albutrol or something in-case,your know, because allergies of that kind are very very serious. I pray the Lord protect you. Lord have mercy!
Logged

To God be the Glory in all things! Amen!

Only pray for me, that God would give me both inward and outward strength, that I may not only speak, but truly will; and that I may not merely be called a Christian, but really be found to be one. St.Ignatius of Antioch.Epistle to the Romans.
Shiny
Site Supporter
Moderated
Toumarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Groucho Marxist
Jurisdiction: Dahntahn Stoop Haus
Posts: 13,267


Paint It Red


« Reply #55 on: October 11, 2011, 10:36:40 PM »

Incense makes the Divine Liturgy all mystical, man.
Logged

“There is your brother, naked, crying, and you stand there confused over the choice of an attractive floor covering.”

– St. Ambrose of Milan
Elijah
Elder
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Tewahedo
Posts: 384


God is love; be faithful un to death.


« Reply #56 on: October 12, 2011, 09:18:09 AM »

Selam all  Smiley

I will ask you if you would answer me, Yoshuwa, how you suppose that we are helping the LORD GOD via incense. I do not know the way you refer to, so if would clarify it,  then maybe i will understand what you mean enough respond to it if i can. In the mean time let us talk on the rest of your question. We cannot talk of the Faith without talking about relationships, and it has to do with ourselves, with our neighbors, and with God. So as   orthodox Christians this relationship is greatly highlighted in how we worship.

Incense, is sprinkled on burning coal to burn freely and emit abundant white smoke of very sweet fragrance.
 
It burns symbolizing the zeal that animates the faithful (notice it is referring to their lives in the fullest sense of the word that includes the body soul and spirit united with His Love)

The rising smoke symbolizes the ascent of prayer before the Throne of the Almighty (again prayer is life it is living, it’s not only talking, its meaning is far deeper than that so as such our prayer rises before God as we lift up our heart Revelation 8:3-4 Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all the saints, on the golden altar before the throne the smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of the saints, went up before God from the angel's hand. Psalm 141:2 ‘Let my prayer be set forth before you as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice’.   )


The sweet fragrance,( the fragrance of the Christian virtue :Ephesians 5:2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us, and has given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling fragrance., Colossians 3:4 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. So everything of ours that is offered in love  even to one another is symbolized as a fragrant offering , an acceptable sacrifice pleasing to God  as st. Paul says to the Philippians 4:18 I have received full payment and even more; I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God.)
 

MOST IMPORTANTLY IMHO this:

Ultimately it is God who accepts prayers, sacrificial offerings, who animates all, and this is why the wise men brought Him incense as one of the gifts at His Nativity, to indicate His Divinity: He that is Born is no ordinary human king, but the Eternal Logos Incarnate, who has the authority to accept prayers, sacrificial offerings, and IS the animator of all as the incense is animated by the fire. ) so it is the testament of Our Faith that we offer the incense to witness this fundamental statue of our faith. To God we offered incense in imperfect priesthood  before in the Old Covenant even more so now To the Same God who became our Highpriest and perfected our priesthood we offer Him incense in the fullness of the New and Everlasting Covenant!!! Glory be to God! This is the Orthodox Faith!
 
and to conclude:
Incense has other purposes as well, as already mentioned by many here, along with the bells with the icons, with the candle lights, etc. it helps our senses to actively engage and participate in the beauty, delight and mystery of worship.
This is not all thats there about incence, but this is all I could think of now. Hope this might help in some way though.

Selam hunu. Smiley


Wonderful explanation; you almost 'interpreted' the traditional way of worshiping  God. Hiwot, thank you; the italicized part make sense.
Logged

Holy Mary, You are the ladder of life. St. Yared
My sons/daughters, come and I will teach you the fear of God. Christ is light.
He watches everything high; He is the king  even over those in the water. Eyob 41:25
quietmorning
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Antiochian
Posts: 2,173


St. Photini


WWW
« Reply #57 on: October 12, 2011, 09:30:16 AM »

God helps us. 
God needs no help.
Incense is pleasing to God and to us.
I want to please God and draw closer to Him. 

I want to draw closer to Him - incense helps me to do that by helping me to focus and reminding me (smell attaches to memories very well in the brain) of His majesty.

He's worth pleasing.
Logged

In His Mercy,
BethAnna
FatherGiryus
You are being watched.
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Patriarchate of Antioch - NA
Posts: 2,122



« Reply #58 on: October 12, 2011, 09:55:25 AM »

I hope these verses will answer your questions…

Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Tell the sons of Israel to raise a contribution for Me; from every man whose heart moves him you shall raise My contribution. This is the contribution which you are to raise from them: gold, silver and bronze, blue, purple and scarlet material, fine linen, goat hair, rams’ skins dyed red, porpoise skins, acacia wood, oil for lighting, spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense, onyx stones and setting stones for the ephod and for the breastpiece. Let them construct a sanctuary for Me, that I may dwell among them. According to all that I am going to show you, as the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furniture, just so you shall construct it. (Ex 25:1-9)

“Moreover, you shall make an altar as a place for burning incense; you shall make it of acacia wood… Aaron shall burn fragrant incense on it; he shall burn it every morning when he trims the lamps. When Aaron trims the lamps at twilight, he shall burn incense. There shall be perpetual incense before the LORD throughout your generations.” (Ex 30:1, 7-8)

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Take for yourself spices, stacte and onycha and galbanum, spices with pure frankincense; there shall be an equal part of each. With it you shall make incense, a perfume, the work of a perfumer, salted, pure, and holy. You shall beat some of it very fine, and put part of it before the testimony in the tent of meeting where I will meet with you; it shall be most holy to you.” (Ex 30:34-36)

Because they have forsaken Me and have burned incense to other gods that they might provoke Me to anger with all the work of their hands, therefore My wrath burns against this place, and it shall not be quenched. (2Ki 22:17)

My sons, do not be negligent now, for the LORD has chosen you to stand before Him, to minister to Him, and to be His ministers and burn incense.  (2Ch 29:11)

May my prayer be counted as incense before Thee; the lifting up of my hands as the evening offering. (Ps 140:2)

“For from the rising of the sun even to its setting, My name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense is going to be offered to My name, and a grain offering that is pure; for My name will be great among the nations,” says the LORD of hosts. (Mi 1:11)

When He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. (Rv 5:8 )

Logged

http://orthodoxyandrecovery.blogspot.com
The most dangerous thing about riding a tiger is the dismount.  - Indian proverb
Gypsy
Member
***
Offline Offline

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Bulgarian Diocese of USA, Canada and Australia
Posts: 77

St. Theodosia, Defender of the Holy Icons


« Reply #59 on: October 12, 2011, 10:06:53 AM »

Father, thanks for posting all these verses.   The one from Revelation is my favorite, I have a question...does it refer to All the Saints including us who are alive today?  Thus is how I always understood this verse prior to being Orthodox.  But now I am wondering if it only means those who are dead but who are Saints as designated by the church.

I prefer that is referring to the offering of all our prayers!
Thanks for any light you can shed on this..
You included verses I did not know...thank you. 
Logged
FatherGiryus
You are being watched.
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Patriarchate of Antioch - NA
Posts: 2,122



« Reply #60 on: October 12, 2011, 10:35:49 AM »

The Book of the Revelation of St. John is a complex book, and there are a variety of interpretations regarding its imagery.  In the Orthodox Church, this book is not read liturgically and is, in fact, not often cited.  Since I have not read enough on the topic, I'm not able to give you the answer you are looking for.

Incense is both a sacrificial offering and a grace-bearing object (c.f. Ex 30:34-36).  Part of the eternal worship of God is the offering of incense (c.f. Mi 1:11)


Father, thanks for posting all these verses.   The one from Revelation is my favorite, I have a question...does it refer to All the Saints including us who are alive today?  Thus is how I always understood this verse prior to being Orthodox.  But now I am wondering if it only means those who are dead but who are Saints as designated by the church.

I prefer that is referring to the offering of all our prayers!
Thanks for any light you can shed on this..
You included verses I did not know...thank you. 
Logged

http://orthodoxyandrecovery.blogspot.com
The most dangerous thing about riding a tiger is the dismount.  - Indian proverb
LizaSymonenko
Слава Ісусу Христу!!! Glory to Jesus Christ!!!
Global Moderator
Toumarches
******
Offline Offline

Faith: God's Holy Catholic and Apostolic Orthodox Church
Jurisdiction: Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the U.S.A.
Posts: 13,021



WWW
« Reply #61 on: October 12, 2011, 10:38:36 AM »

Not only does the scent of incense please your senses, allowing you to relax, find peace and center your attention; the physical aspect of the smoke adds enchantment, and otherworldlyness to the church.

All things Orthodox are so beautifully symbolic and satisfying to the soul.

I love incense...and am sorry to hear Orthonorm that you suffer so, from something so beautiful.

 
Logged

Conquer evil men by your gentle kindness, and make zealous men wonder at your goodness. Put the lover of legality to shame by your compassion. With the afflicted be afflicted in mind. Love all men, but keep distant from all men.
—St. Isaac of Syria
biro
Excelsior
Site Supporter
Toumarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Greek Orthodox
Posts: 13,443


Και κλήρονομον δείξον με, ζωής της αιωνίου

fleem
WWW
« Reply #62 on: October 12, 2011, 12:42:29 PM »

The angels offer incense to God in Heaven. (see the above verses from Revelation)

Also, it smells nice.

Have you ever used an air freshener at your house?  Wink
Logged

Charlie Rose: If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?

Fran Lebowitz: Everything. There is not one thing with which I am satisfied.

http://spcasuncoast.org/
yeshuaisiam
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox, Anabaptist, Other Early Christianity kind of jumbled together
Posts: 4,238


A pulling horse cannot kick.


« Reply #63 on: October 12, 2011, 12:53:35 PM »

Ah, a utilitarian approach.

What does prayer "do"? Please help me understand.

Do the vibrations of one's vocal chords and the expelling of air from the lungs cause a change in God or his plan? Do prayers somehow evoke cosmic sympathy as the number of vocal chords participating increase, or as silent mental activity and firings of synapses directed at God increase? Do the vibrations reach the giant Cosmic Ear and does he then wave his magic wand of providence and set things aright?

Do the icons smell the incense? Seriously? Way to slip that little kick-in-the-nuts in with your "question".

Obviously prayer has some tendency to do something with God or else Yeshua would have not prayed.

Not trying to kick anything, just don't understand the point because icons get censed.   What's the point?
Logged

I learned how to be more frugal and save money at http://www.livingpress.com
LBK
Merarches
***********
Online Online

Faith: Orthodox
Posts: 10,737


Holy Father Patrick, pray for us!


« Reply #64 on: October 12, 2011, 12:56:22 PM »

Quote
Not trying to kick anything, just don't understand the point because icons get censed.   What's the point?

The censing of icons is a gesture of veneration and honor to the saints and holy ones depicted on them.
Logged
yeshuaisiam
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox, Anabaptist, Other Early Christianity kind of jumbled together
Posts: 4,238


A pulling horse cannot kick.


« Reply #65 on: October 12, 2011, 01:01:34 PM »

Orthodoxy has a silly insistence on involving the entire person, since it is the entire person that is to be saved. They want as many senses engaged as is possible to put an exclamation point on this. This question about incense springs from the same mindset that makes people ask "but why ask a saint in heaven pray for you, why not just pray to God yourself?" It completely misses the point of the practice.

Yes agreed and understand.  The issue is at hand on the questioning of "what is the true faith".   Orthodoxy absolutely makes this claim and without doubt has many leads back to the true faith.   However through my journey I've found many things to be absolutely useless, pointless, and for man only.   I've also found many issues of direct disobedience to the commands of God that the church openly practices to the tune of excuses.

However with this exists a paradigm that I've found.  Eastern Orthodoxy does hold some valid truths for sure.  But the same elemental truths to the EXACT I have found the Anabaptists widely practicing (Other than using the correct name of Jesus which is Yeshua).   The huge caveat is the fundamentals of the Eucharist which I am trying to fully understand.

So from my question I'm basically trying to understand why people need such "mystic" elements such as incense and why.  To me its a tremendous faith issue because if one can "pray better" with incense or "get in the mood better" with incense, then their faith is lacking for true 100% prayer.
Logged

I learned how to be more frugal and save money at http://www.livingpress.com
yeshuaisiam
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox, Anabaptist, Other Early Christianity kind of jumbled together
Posts: 4,238


A pulling horse cannot kick.


« Reply #66 on: October 12, 2011, 01:08:03 PM »

“Incense has a double symbolism even in the Old Testament.  It is a symbol of purification and also of the Divine Presence.”

Plus worshipping without incense when the option is available is just gay.
LOL!

Yeshuaisiam, do you not realize that you are displaying a large degree of spiritual pride here? Maybe you don't need incense, but it helps the rest of us (with the exception of my mother, who almost passed out during the Great Entrance).

Your entire first post reeks with condescension to those of us who, like others said, like to engage all of our senses for a complete physical experience in worship. I don't think prayer is invalidated without incense, but not all of us have a mustard seed of faith and can forgo all of these things like you apparently can. If I didn't need a spiritual crutch, I wouldn't need God.

No not at all.   You are misunderstanding me (I think).   I'm not saying I have 100% faith or being boastful.

I'm wondering if incense is a "faith placebo" that people are using to feel they have better faith than they do.  As many pointed out "it's a crutch", "puts them in the mood" etc.   As you said "If I didn't need a spiritual crutch, I wouldn't need God".   That's twisting it.

If you had 100% faith in God, then you wouldn't need a spiritual crutch, which does nothing other than gives you the "experience" of 100% faith (sic).   

So no, don't mistake me for being boastful.  My point is my faith has trouble, but to fill it with incense could be fooling myself for the weakness in my faith & prayer.
Logged

I learned how to be more frugal and save money at http://www.livingpress.com
yeshuaisiam
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox, Anabaptist, Other Early Christianity kind of jumbled together
Posts: 4,238


A pulling horse cannot kick.


« Reply #67 on: October 12, 2011, 01:11:50 PM »

It's also kind of like asking why we have a funeral service instead of just dumping the body in the ground, or why someone makes the house nice before having company over. If you love the person, you make a fuss over them. You bring out all of the finest clothing (vestments), dishes (sacred vessels), music and aromas you can muster, because that person deserves your best.

It might not be very utilitarian, but when you don't it's kind of like giving out hunks of bread or toothbrushes for Christmas. They're useful, but not full of love. But then again, any kind of a gift doesn't really "do" much as the person just eventually dies anyway. No amount of bread or dental health will prevent death, so why bother?

Why do I mow the lawn? Why do I clean my room? Why are you wasting my time with this infantile level of faux-inquiry, as it's really just about you taking swipes at Orthodox praxis to make you feel more secure in your decision to be a kind of quasi-anabapist internet hero?

Actually it's completely different. 

This is a direct issue with faith being crutched by incense.

Your ugly remark is forgiven, but to explain, eternity is a long freaking time, I want to be sure to get it right.  I'm not trying to be a hero, but remember this, often times people return answers in hostility because they'd rather answer in anger than having to admit that there just may be a valid point.
Logged

I learned how to be more frugal and save money at http://www.livingpress.com
yeshuaisiam
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox, Anabaptist, Other Early Christianity kind of jumbled together
Posts: 4,238


A pulling horse cannot kick.


« Reply #68 on: October 12, 2011, 01:20:52 PM »

Your senses are usually engaged no matter what you are doing.

It is a matter of how you enjoy using your senses.

This is a very good point. Since our senses are always 'turned on', the question becomes, what are they sensing? Especially in the pre-deodorant world of antiquity, incense has a valuable practical function: the point of Orthodox 'smells and bells' is not so much to 'engage the senses', as they are already engaged, as you point out; it is rather to beautify the 'space' in which the senses are sensing. (For most people, incense is a beautiful smell, though there are always some, such as you, who disagree.) This reflects and reinforces the idea that God is beautiful.

The issue is why do we even need to engage our senses to have pure faith in God?    And as your last sentence stated "it reflects and reinforces the idea that God is beautiful" basically is my point.  Incense is being used as a "faith placebo".  Pointless and most probably meaningless to God who made the resins in the first place.

It's a fake faith crutch that people are using to persuade themselves of something they believe should exist (God's beauty).   When we need to be reminded of this by means of artificial mysticism, I see a horrifying issue in faith.

Why not just put some pot in the censor?  The smell of that and the effect is surely to get anybody into a great mellow mood for good prayer.

The type of incense is pointless (rose, pine, etc.)  So it's a crutch, placebo, and a use to get people in the mood so that they can "pray stronger" or more right.  I guess I'm wondering why people would not rather work on their true faith in God, where incense would not be needed.
Logged

I learned how to be more frugal and save money at http://www.livingpress.com
LBK
Merarches
***********
Online Online

Faith: Orthodox
Posts: 10,737


Holy Father Patrick, pray for us!


« Reply #69 on: October 12, 2011, 01:26:13 PM »

Quote
Pointless and most probably meaningless to God who made the resins in the first place.

Yet God, through His prophets and the Apostle John, decreed the use of incense in worship, both in the OT and the NT.
Logged
yeshuaisiam
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox, Anabaptist, Other Early Christianity kind of jumbled together
Posts: 4,238


A pulling horse cannot kick.


« Reply #70 on: October 12, 2011, 01:26:23 PM »

After all the stuff... Icons... Incense... Crossing one's self.... iconostasis.... antimention.... etc.

What are you left with?

Are "these tools & symbols" only in existence because of the lack of faith?
Origen would agree with you. He thought that all of material existence was a result of fallen spirituality.

But, you know, he was wrong.

You know what's interesting?  Of all the early Christian authors, Origen makes the most sense to me.  I think of all the baffling things that one can conceive about the Holy Trinity, he really unravels it into a directly logical way.

By the way, have you ever considered who told you to call him wrong?  Because just (FYI) many Orthodox Christians don't even know whether to think of him as hertical, quasi heretical, or a church Father.  I've known many who thought that way.   I hope one day you have the time to read his books (if you have not already).  Very interesting stuff.
Logged

I learned how to be more frugal and save money at http://www.livingpress.com
yeshuaisiam
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox, Anabaptist, Other Early Christianity kind of jumbled together
Posts: 4,238


A pulling horse cannot kick.


« Reply #71 on: October 12, 2011, 01:27:45 PM »

Yes it really does help us.  It is a natural spirit-lifter, scientifically proven.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080520110415.htm

So does pot but we should not put that in the censor.

If it really lifts the spirit, then our spirit is being lifted by something other than God.   I see that as a faith issue.
Logged

I learned how to be more frugal and save money at http://www.livingpress.com
LBK
Merarches
***********
Online Online

Faith: Orthodox
Posts: 10,737


Holy Father Patrick, pray for us!


« Reply #72 on: October 12, 2011, 01:29:26 PM »

Origen was anathematised at an Ecumenical Council. Good enough for me. Who am I to argue with the holy Fathers of that Council, who were guided by the Holy Spirit?
Logged
LBK
Merarches
***********
Online Online

Faith: Orthodox
Posts: 10,737


Holy Father Patrick, pray for us!


« Reply #73 on: October 12, 2011, 01:30:32 PM »

Quote
I see that as a faith issue.

Then go argue the toss with God.

Quote
Pointless and most probably meaningless to God who made the resins in the first place.

Yet God, through His prophets and the Apostle John, decreed the use of incense in worship, both in the OT and the NT.
Logged
yeshuaisiam
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox, Anabaptist, Other Early Christianity kind of jumbled together
Posts: 4,238


A pulling horse cannot kick.


« Reply #74 on: October 12, 2011, 01:33:18 PM »

The consensus of answers I have gotten is that incense is basically a faith crutch, because our prayers wouldn't be "in the mood" without it.

Uh, no. The incense is Tradition, and Tradition is important---it's an historical legacy and it has all the effects mentioned above---but it's not the essence of the faith. For example, if an atom bomb were to fall on my house and I had to worship without incense, or icons, or my prayer rope, or a covering on my head, my worship would be just as authentic. If you remember, many famous ascetics existed in the desert on 'nothing'; St. Mary of Egypt, for instance, didn't even wear clothes. (I wonder where she kept her incense.)

In order to understand why the subtraction of these items does not diminish the character of the Orthodox faith,  you have to develop a greater theological understanding of Orthodox Christianity and how it differs from what you may have experienced as "Christianity." Much of what passes for Christianity in the US is based on misinterpretation, misguided, or just plain wrong.

Many converts are too easily enticed by the aesthetics of the Orthodox Church, ignoring the fact that, in the final analysis, Orthodoxy calls on us to be reborn, empty ourselves, become dwelling places of the Holy Spirit, pick up our crosses, and follow Christ to martyrdom, if need be.

Quo vadis? Where are you going? Are you preparing yourself for the moment you will be called on to step in front of your enemy to take a bullet that was meant for him? Or are you headed to the store to buy more incense?

JALatimer:

Uh, yeah.


Very much agree with you!  Now, as you said: Orthodoxy calls on us to be reborn, empty ourselves, become dwelling places of the Holy Spirit, pick up our crosses, and follow Christ to martyrdom, if need be.

Be reborn.  Partake of the Eucharist.  Make your body the Holy temple. Pick up your cross & follow to the point of martyrdom!
but then.....
Incense, Icons, bow, cross yourself , bow, cross yourself again, venerate, cross yourself yet again, bow, prayer rope, iconostasis... So much "fluff".  

By the example of our God, he didn't have any of this 'fluff'.  Nice as it seems, I think of it as a distraction that very well could guide people away from true faith with a placebo faith crutch.
Logged

I learned how to be more frugal and save money at http://www.livingpress.com
yeshuaisiam
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox, Anabaptist, Other Early Christianity kind of jumbled together
Posts: 4,238


A pulling horse cannot kick.


« Reply #75 on: October 12, 2011, 01:41:30 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

The purpose of physical worship such as prostrations, incense, icons, buildings, books, chants, etc etc is not to get a person "closer to God" in the sense that proximity to God is limited by these.  God is not limited by Incense, however, as it has been explained, these kinds of physical worship are deeply ritualistic and symbolic of the deeper, underlying meaning and intent.  When a person offers Incense with their prayers, or prayers before the presence of Holy Icons, or performs certain prostrations or recites particular written prayers, these are symbolic of the underlying inner intention of that individual to get closer to God with prayer.  These should not be assumed to "force God's hand" or to earn God's Grace or favoritism in matters of our lives, that is not prayer.  Prayer is communication with God, not a wishlist or a complain department.  As such, physical attributes of prayer are highly symbolic of the inner feelings of yearning to get closer to God and to communicate.

Yes, incense and icons are sensory reminders of prayer, and they serve this function, but it is deeper than that.  After all, God can speak for Himself by His own power, He doesn't need incense to communicate with us, and we don't need it to remember Him, He is not merely a memory which we recapitulate on like the family photo-album, rather we can always know God in the present tense.  However, still there is a need for these symbolic actions and gestures, not merely to remind us our capture our attentions, but to manifest the deeper realities of our intentions.

If I want to communicate with you, I have to call you directly on the phone, or actually type up this email, or tap you on the shoulder and say, "hey" but I can rarely achieve good communion telepathically. In other words, I actually have to do something in verb sense, otherwise I am just thinking about communicating.  While we can communicate with God beyond physical, because He Himself is beyond physical, we still remain physical beings during our prayer.  This is why we use physical gestures and tools to accompany our prayer, not  because it benefits God, or enhances God's Grace, but because it benefits ourselves, and enhances our own sense of awareness.

God is beyond incense, but we are not.  God's Grace is beyond incense, but we must show God in our symbolic actions that our intentions are sincere.  In using the incense or the icons, we are showing God in a physical way our intentions.  God knows our hearts, but we ourselves need to use these physical gestures to keep our attentions focused.  God doesn't need them, we do.  That is what symbolism is.  Symbols are objects or actions which convey and communicate deeper, underlying, and hard to explain meanings.  It is further deeper than just trying to maintain a sense of awareness, rather like any kind of sport or dance, the purpose of the gestures is in the gestures themselves because these are the actions and activities.  Prayer is not limited by incense, but incense is definitely prayer in action, symbolic of our own hearts and intentions acting on God.



We don't worship God with incense, we symbolize our worship, but the symbols should not negate the power of God, and neither should the power of God negate the potency of the symbolism.  Actually, these cooperate.  The symbol is the manifestation in the verb sense of our worship, of our communicating efforts, of our prayer.  

Let me ask the flip side, what really is the harm with incense or icons in prayer?

stay blessed,
habte selassie

I understand what you are saying, and excellent post.

The harm that I can find with incense and icons is that they are used as a means of a spiritual crutch "to experience real faith and prayer".  If they are used as a mere crutch to set a mood and atmosphere for worship, they very well could be used as a means of filling an area of faith that we are lacking, rather than trying to correct the lack of faith with real faith.

So my original question of basically "What good does incense do for God", still truly stands.   If incense only does "good for us" and is used as a "mood setter" or "better prayer", then we are lacking the fundamentals of true faith in our prayer.

In that true faithful prayer we should be fully engaged in communication with God.  When we do this with all of our heart, mind, and soul, we shouldn't have to lean on such things.
Logged

I learned how to be more frugal and save money at http://www.livingpress.com
yeshuaisiam
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox, Anabaptist, Other Early Christianity kind of jumbled together
Posts: 4,238


A pulling horse cannot kick.


« Reply #76 on: October 12, 2011, 01:43:01 PM »

Wouldn't real faith involve absolute sincere 100% prayer and dialog with God even while sitting in raw sewage?
Do you have this kind of faith?

No I do not.  The question exists if I want to crutch it with incense or actually try to achieve this type of faith.  If I use incense will it only "fill" what is empty with a placebo.
Logged

I learned how to be more frugal and save money at http://www.livingpress.com
yeshuaisiam
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox, Anabaptist, Other Early Christianity kind of jumbled together
Posts: 4,238


A pulling horse cannot kick.


« Reply #77 on: October 12, 2011, 01:49:20 PM »

I hope these verses will answer your questions…

Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Tell the sons of Israel to raise a contribution for Me; from every man whose heart moves him you shall raise My contribution. This is the contribution which you are to raise from them: gold, silver and bronze, blue, purple and scarlet material, fine linen, goat hair, rams’ skins dyed red, porpoise skins, acacia wood, oil for lighting, spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense, onyx stones and setting stones for the ephod and for the breastpiece. Let them construct a sanctuary for Me, that I may dwell among them. According to all that I am going to show you, as the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furniture, just so you shall construct it. (Ex 25:1-9)

“Moreover, you shall make an altar as a place for burning incense; you shall make it of acacia wood… Aaron shall burn fragrant incense on it; he shall burn it every morning when he trims the lamps. When Aaron trims the lamps at twilight, he shall burn incense. There shall be perpetual incense before the LORD throughout your generations.” (Ex 30:1, 7-8)

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Take for yourself spices, stacte and onycha and galbanum, spices with pure frankincense; there shall be an equal part of each. With it you shall make incense, a perfume, the work of a perfumer, salted, pure, and holy. You shall beat some of it very fine, and put part of it before the testimony in the tent of meeting where I will meet with you; it shall be most holy to you.” (Ex 30:34-36)

Because they have forsaken Me and have burned incense to other gods that they might provoke Me to anger with all the work of their hands, therefore My wrath burns against this place, and it shall not be quenched. (2Ki 22:17)

My sons, do not be negligent now, for the LORD has chosen you to stand before Him, to minister to Him, and to be His ministers and burn incense.  (2Ch 29:11)

May my prayer be counted as incense before Thee; the lifting up of my hands as the evening offering. (Ps 140:2)

“For from the rising of the sun even to its setting, My name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense is going to be offered to My name, and a grain offering that is pure; for My name will be great among the nations,” says the LORD of hosts. (Mi 1:11)

When He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. (Rv 5:8 )



I know of the verses, but I think the question goes around those a bit in terms of faith crutching and what good it does for God.  This would implicate tradition and some would argue "Jewish law". 
Logged

I learned how to be more frugal and save money at http://www.livingpress.com
PeterTheAleut
The Right Blowhard Peter the Furtive of Yetts O'Muckhart
Section Moderator
Protospatharios
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 32,220


Lord, have mercy on the Christians in Mosul!


« Reply #78 on: October 12, 2011, 01:56:31 PM »

Wouldn't real faith involve absolute sincere 100% prayer and dialog with God even while sitting in raw sewage?
Do you have this kind of faith?

No I do not.  The question exists if I want to crutch it with incense or actually try to achieve this type of faith.  If I use incense will it only "fill" what is empty with a placebo.
Even the person who walks with a crutch walks. I think that better than trying to walk without a crutch when you clearly are not strong enough to even stand on your feet.
Logged
Alveus Lacuna
Warned
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Posts: 6,888



« Reply #79 on: October 12, 2011, 02:05:21 PM »

Your ugly remark is forgiven, but to explain, eternity is a long freaking time, I want to be sure to get it right.  I'm not trying to be a hero, but remember this, often times people return answers in hostility because they'd rather answer in anger than having to admit that there just may be a valid point.

I am just tired lately. Forgive me, a sinner.
Logged
Marc1152
Toumarches
************
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Rocor
Posts: 12,821


Probiotic .. Antibiotic


« Reply #80 on: October 12, 2011, 02:17:30 PM »

Orthodoxy has a silly insistence on involving the entire person, since it is the entire person that is to be saved. They want as many senses engaged as is possible to put an exclamation point on this. This question about incense springs from the same mindset that makes people ask "but why ask a saint in heaven pray for you, why not just pray to God yourself?" It completely misses the point of the practice.

Yes agreed and understand.  The issue is at hand on the questioning of "what is the true faith".   Orthodoxy absolutely makes this claim and without doubt has many leads back to the true faith.   However through my journey I've found many things to be absolutely useless, pointless, and for man only.   I've also found many issues of direct disobedience to the commands of God that the church openly practices to the tune of excuses.

However with this exists a paradigm that I've found.  Eastern Orthodoxy does hold some valid truths for sure.  But the same elemental truths to the EXACT I have found the Anabaptists widely practicing (Other than using the correct name of Jesus which is Yeshua).   The huge caveat is the fundamentals of the Eucharist which I am trying to fully understand.

So from my question I'm basically trying to understand why people need such "mystic" elements such as incense and why.  To me its a tremendous faith issue because if one can "pray better" with incense or "get in the mood better" with incense, then their faith is lacking for true 100% prayer.

It sounds like you would be happier if you tried a different religion. Why are you wasting our time?
Logged

Your idea has been debunked 1000 times already.. Maybe 1001 will be the charm
PeterTheAleut
The Right Blowhard Peter the Furtive of Yetts O'Muckhart
Section Moderator
Protospatharios
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 32,220


Lord, have mercy on the Christians in Mosul!


« Reply #81 on: October 12, 2011, 02:21:50 PM »

Your ugly remark is forgiven,
Then why did you even bring it up? Is this some passive-aggressive way of pointing out wrongs done to you? Some prideful way of showing how magnanimous you are?
Logged
Ortho_cat
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: AOCA-DWMA
Posts: 5,392



« Reply #82 on: October 12, 2011, 02:29:56 PM »

Incense takes your senses out of every day reality and raises them to a heavenly reality. It reminds us that we are participating in the heavenly worship depicted in Revelation.

8:4 The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of the saints, went up before God from the angel's hand

5:8 And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.

So the question should be, why do you not model your worship after heavenly worship?
Logged
HabteSelassie
Ises and I-ity
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church
Posts: 3,332



« Reply #83 on: October 12, 2011, 02:36:26 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior!



So my original question of basically "What good does incense do for God", still truly stands.   If incense only does "good for us" and is used as a "mood setter" or "better prayer", then we are lacking the fundamentals of true faith in our prayer.

In that true faithful prayer we should be fully engaged in communication with God.  When we do this with all of our heart, mind, and soul, we shouldn't have to lean on such things.

Brother, again, the "good incense does for God" is inherent in the symbolic gesture.  As posters have already suggested, what good does a parent tangibly receive when their children pick wildflowers and bring them as a gift? The true gift if in the symbolism of the gesture, that in finding and giving the otherwise worthless flower to child sees and appreciates the parent, and sees the flower as a symbol of their love in action.  The benefit the parent then receives is seeing in the verb sense of action the love of their children.  When we offer incense with our prayers to the Father, or when we use prostrations, or pray before Icons, we are symbolizing our faith in action to the Father.  We are not limiting our faith, it is not a crutch, rather it is the very manifestation of our faith! To call it a crutch is like saying a baseball glove is a crutch to an outfielder, perhaps they can catch the ball barehanded, but isn't that what a mitt is for in the first place?  Incense is part and parcel of prayer, it is the symbol of our prioritizing God, of our manifested faith in the communication we anticipate and pray for. 

Further, remember where incense comes from? Only a very few places in the world, and so when we offer this to God, we are sacrificing time, space, money, resources, labor, transportation, effort, etc etc towards our God, so that the incense is also symbolic of all the actions and activities which brought about the incense.  When we offer it to God, all the steps of gathering and prepration leading up to it are converted towards prayer.  This is what the Father then benefits, in that He loves us as a Father loves His children, and therefore He enjoys from His Heart to see His children demonstrating their love and faith in Him, not just in their minds and hearts, but tangibly in their physical lives.  A parent knows their children love them, but the flower is just the icing on that cake Smiley


stay blessed,
habte selassie
Logged

"Yet stand aloof from stupid questionings and geneologies and strifes and fightings about law, for they are without benefit and vain." Titus 3:10
FatherGiryus
You are being watched.
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Patriarchate of Antioch - NA
Posts: 2,122



« Reply #84 on: October 12, 2011, 03:02:51 PM »

If it did something 'good for God,' then He would not be God, but a demigod.

God is the source of all good, and nothing can be added to Him.  The offerings to Him are for our own sake, that we might live.  This was the original explanation of the Law, one that is the most forgotten.

Everything is a 'crutch'... we do everything to build up our weak faith so that we may draw close to the source of all strength, which is God.  If we could have a strong faith independent of 'crutches' or His divine intervention through outside means, then we would have no need of His intervention.  We could, quite literally, save ourselves.

Prayer, Liturgy, incense, icons, sacrifices... all crutches.  We are broken and weak and need these crutches.  They help us along to the very end.  I am ashamed of nothing that helps me grow towards God, and that growth is from His mercy that I have obtained in part by leaning on any crutch I can.

To think that a man can simply 'think' his way into heaven is just weird.



I know of the verses, but I think the question goes around those a bit in terms of faith crutching and what good it does for God.  This would implicate tradition and some would argue "Jewish law". 
Logged

http://orthodoxyandrecovery.blogspot.com
The most dangerous thing about riding a tiger is the dismount.  - Indian proverb
FatherGiryus
You are being watched.
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Patriarchate of Antioch - NA
Posts: 2,122



« Reply #85 on: October 12, 2011, 03:11:22 PM »

You are already filled, you have already become rich, you have become kings without us; and indeed, I wish that you had become kings so that we also might reign with you.  For, I think, God has exhibited us apostles last of all, as men condemned to death; because we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men.  We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are prudent in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are distinguished, but we are without honor.  To this present hour we are both hungry and thirsty, and are poorly clothed, and are roughly treated, and are homeless; and we toil, working with our own hands; when we are reviled, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure;  when we are slandered, we try to conciliate; we have become as the scum of the world, the dregs of all things, even until now.  (1Co 4:8-13)

I will gladly be weak in faith if it puts me in such exalted company...   Wink


If it did something 'good for God,' then He would not be God, but a demigod.

God is the source of all good, and nothing can be added to Him.  The offerings to Him are for our own sake, that we might live.  This was the original explanation of the Law, one that is the most forgotten.

Everything is a 'crutch'... we do everything to build up our weak faith so that we may draw close to the source of all strength, which is God.  If we could have a strong faith independent of 'crutches' or His divine intervention through outside means, then we would have no need of His intervention.  We could, quite literally, save ourselves.

Prayer, Liturgy, incense, icons, sacrifices... all crutches.  We are broken and weak and need these crutches.  They help us along to the very end.  I am ashamed of nothing that helps me grow towards God, and that growth is from His mercy that I have obtained in part by leaning on any crutch I can.

To think that a man can simply 'think' his way into heaven is just weird.



I know of the verses, but I think the question goes around those a bit in terms of faith crutching and what good it does for God.  This would implicate tradition and some would argue "Jewish law". 
Logged

http://orthodoxyandrecovery.blogspot.com
The most dangerous thing about riding a tiger is the dismount.  - Indian proverb
xariskai
юродивый/yurodivy
OC.net guru
*******
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Posts: 1,368


יהוה עזי ומגני


« Reply #86 on: October 12, 2011, 05:11:27 PM »

I'm wondering if incense really helps God out or makes your prayers more powerful to God.  I'm wondering if it is just the scent it makes.
Do the people in the icons smell the incense because the priest census the icons too.  

I guess I miss the point entirely of why incense is important, how it helps you achieve salvation, how it helps one believe in God more, how it helps you to be more forgiving, charitable, or a better Christian.

Thanks
What is your view of the usage of incense in the OT?

Had you lived in OT times, would you have similarly argued its usage be abolished in the Tabernacle if the pragmatic purpose of it was not evident to you?

Had it been you instead of Abraham who God asked to be circumscribed with all your household, would you have demanded God explain how this helps you to believe in Him more? (Abraham already believed in God at the time He required Abraham to be circumcised). Was Abraham a more charitable or forgiving person after he was circumcised? Can you tell us exactly what the point of demanding Abraham, his household, and his progeny be circumcised was? Or do you think this was just a man-made command, and if so, why would Abraham have wanted to invent the command to circumcise himself and every male in his household so badly?
« Last Edit: October 12, 2011, 05:35:58 PM by xariskai » Logged

Silly Stars
Deacon Lance
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Byzantine Catholic
Jurisdiction: Archeparchy of Pittsburgh
Posts: 2,909


Liturgy at Mt. St. Macrina Pilgrimage


« Reply #87 on: October 12, 2011, 06:31:11 PM »

Yes it really does help us.  It is a natural spirit-lifter, scientifically proven.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080520110415.htm

So does pot but we should not put that in the censor.

If it really lifts the spirit, then our spirit is being lifted by something other than God.   I see that as a faith issue.

If medicine heals you are healed by something other than God or are using God's gifts as he intends?  God gave us gifts to lift our spirits, heals us and nourish us.
 
"You make the grass grow for the cattle and the plants to serve man's needs, that he may bring forth bread from the earth and wine to cheer man's heart; oil, to make his face shine and bread to strengthen man's heart" (Pslam 103: 14-15).

It is absurd to compare the mild anti-depressant/anti-anxiety effect of incense with the intoxicating effect of pot. 
Logged

My cromulent posts embiggen this forum.
biro
Excelsior
Site Supporter
Toumarches
*****
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox Christian
Jurisdiction: Greek Orthodox
Posts: 13,443


Και κλήρονομον δείξον με, ζωής της αιωνίου

fleem
WWW
« Reply #88 on: October 12, 2011, 06:42:10 PM »

Does Yesh go to church buck naked in the middle of a field?

Because if he doesn't, he's 'using' things to support his faith as much as anyone else. Sunday best clothes, the car you drive to get there (or the shoes you wear, if you walk), the church building itself, the copy of the Bible that you read, etc. The only way he could follow his own logic and be completely 'pure' in faith, by his own bizarre reasoning, is if he didn't let any inanimate objects get in the way of his worship of God.

Why is incense wrong but using air freshener at home is okay? Surely, you pray at home too?

 Huh

Logged

Charlie Rose: If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?

Fran Lebowitz: Everything. There is not one thing with which I am satisfied.

http://spcasuncoast.org/
HabteSelassie
Ises and I-ity
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Oriental Orthodox
Jurisdiction: Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church
Posts: 3,332



« Reply #89 on: October 12, 2011, 06:42:52 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Quote
3 While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.

 4 Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? 5 It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages[a] and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly.

   6 “Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 7 The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. 8 She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. 9 Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”
Mark 14

Much like this woman, incense is all we can do, the Greek of this passage more correctly reads "She used what she had" and in regards to incense, that is what we have to offer back to God with our prayers.  God doesn't need them, just as surely Jesus Christ didn't need to be anointed with this oil, and yet He still remarked of the act as her having "done a beautiful thing to me."

stay blessed,
habte selassie
« Last Edit: October 12, 2011, 06:43:28 PM by HabteSelassie » Logged

"Yet stand aloof from stupid questionings and geneologies and strifes and fightings about law, for they are without benefit and vain." Titus 3:10
Tags: Yeshuaisiamism incense 
Pages: « 1 2 3 4 »  All   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.18 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.169 seconds with 72 queries.