When it comes to worship, there are various objects that are used. Some have great symbolism and they allude to a more complex concept of the faith. Other objects are very practical and used for the functioning of the services. In this blog, I will be describing a few of the most common objects that I have witnessed and researched.
What objects are used in Christian worship? Objects used in Christian worship vary depending on the denomination. Flags, art supplies, finances, and musical instruments tend to be used in more Evangelical settings. Whereas, the Rosary, prayer beads and liturgical items are used in Catholic or traditional denominations.
There are numerous differences that come in Christianity because of the vastness of denominational background. Essentially, there are many churches that believe in Jesus and the Bible but have their own interpretations and experiences that form the overall belief. Typically, denominational variations are the result of a prominent person of faith who made a type of reformation within the church, whether good or bad.
Due to this, we have many different beliefs within the overarching belief of Christianity. Many people will argue between the differences. Some differences are great enough for a cause of concern. Others, however, aren’t essential and don’t make a significant impact.
The most crucial way to navigate through these denominational barriers is to fervently study the scriptures for truth. Discern between man-made tradition and God-given commands. At times, traditional objects and strategies aren’t heretical and can be helpful. However, there are objects and concepts that detract from the gospel and the purpose that God has for His people and His Kingdom.
The following objects are categorized between the Evangelical denomination and that of the Catholic and Tradition denominations. Prayerfully ask the Lord for truth and discernment if you are in the process of choosing which objects to use within worship. If you are curious about the background of these objects, keep an open mind to hear from the Lord, in any new way that may be surprising to you.
Not all Evangelic churches use the following objects as a means of worship. It does depend on the specific church within an area. Various cultures will also have different manners of worship based on their background. For example, some cultures are much more expressive in their daily lives which also pours over into their worship. Others live reserved lives. Therefore, these people tend to be more reserved in their worship.
Perhaps the most recognized objects of Evangelical worship is that of musical instruments, sound equipment, and displayed lyrics. Aside from this, I have listed merely a few objects that are used in some spheres of the Evangelical church. They are by no means, a concrete stamp that categorizes the entire Evangelical denomination.
The use of flags in worship is often accompanied by a style of dance. They are waved about with large and small movements. These flags can be various colors and patterns. At times, the appearance of the flag holds symbolism, yet this is personal to who makes the flag and who chooses to use it. When people use flags in worship it can be for different reasons. Some people admire the beauty of a flag or banner and use it as an expression of love and beauty.
Other believers will use flags as a symbolic statement of territory. In general, flags symbolize ownership over a geographical location. After a battle or war, flags are placed on the land as a statement that the flag holder now has possession of the area. In the same way, Christians use flags as symbolism to declare God’s Kingdom over an area, both spiritually and within the physical realm.
Furthermore, art supplies are used in worship settings to depict what an individual believes the Lord is speaking to them, or to other people. This can be called prophetic painting or art. Art supplies are also readily available throughout a room for anyone who may feel led to make a creative and faith-filled expression. Art can follow the theme of a worship setting or message that is presented. It can be used for the entire Body of Christ, or for one individual.
Some churches will station an artist on the same stage as the worship leaders. Artists are also considered worship leaders. Individuals and churches value expressions of art because they believe creativity comes from God and that all avenues of giftings should be used to honor God. Much like other talents used in the church (musicians, singers, songwriters, speakers, and writers), it is believed that all people have talents to give glorify God.
A more common and widely accepted object used in worship is money. Every church that I have ever heard of or attended presents an offering. Offerings are also called tithes. Tithing specifically was commanded in the Old Testament and was certainly a way of worship. Due to the New Covenant, believers are freed from the law, which also indicates that they are freed from the requirement to tithe.
Despite this, scriptures make it clear that God loves a cheerful giver. God is honored when finances are given to His mission. Money is used in worship to fund the church and events. Additionally, financial generosity cares for the less fortunate. The sacrifice of money that could’ve been used for personal gain is most definitely a manner of worship.
Furthermore, without the generosity of believers, the church could not fulfill its mandate to reach the world and disciple all peoples. Financial worship is extremely important and necessary. For this reason, it has been used all throughout history to fund and support the purposes of God.
Catholic and Traditional Objects
Catholic and more traditional denominations of Christianity have their own accepted objects used in worship. Some of these objects provide symbolism to Biblical concepts, while others have been added in for additional reasons and avenues concerning righteousness, devotion, and good works.
The Rosary and Prayer Beads
The Rosary and prayer beads are used to guide specific prayers. Each bead and section represents a prayer or statement that is to be made. Prayer beads are used to help people remember what prayers to recite since it is usually a longer and more complex process. In particular, the Rosary is valued because it is perceived to be able to remove earthly punishment of sins. Additionally, it is used in conjunction with a confession to the Pope and sacraments to bring salvation. Outside of the Catholic church, prayer beads are also used for atonement purposes and reward from good works.
Learn more about the history and purpose of the Rosary and prayer beads here.
There are numerous objects used during Mass. I have listed only a few of them to create a basic understanding of the tradition. The Catholic Church is very symbolic in its worship and services. The services are solemn and serious.
- Holy Water Font – Is used to make the Sign of the Cross upon entry into the Sanctuary. it signifies baptism.
- Sanctus Bell – Rung at the beginning of Mass except during Holy Week.
- Censer and Boat – Is used to incense the altar on solemn occasions.
- Processional Crucifix – Is carried before the gifts of the Altar and is carried out after the end of Mass.
- Altar – This is the main focal point. It signifies Jesus as the Living Stone.
- Ambo – Is used for the proclamation of the Scriptures during Mass and the homily, intercessions, announcements, and prayers.
When it comes to the objects used in worship, they can have a direct connection of adoration to God. For example, singing songs of praise and respect to God exalts Him in glory. They can also be used for personal reasons, such as helping bring awareness or concentration during worship.
Worship isn’t merely singing and playing music. It can be expressed in numerous manners. Keep in mind that some objects used in worship can bring a closer connection to God, while others have the potential of being distracting or heretical. If you are choosing to utilize worship objects personally, prayerfully and intentionally compare them to scripture.
If you are interested in learning more about Christian worship, check out some of my other blogs. “History of Christian Worship from the Early Church to Today” may help answer additional questions about why we worship and how specific worship styles were implemented in the Christian faith. Additionally, “Christian Worship: Definition, Biblical Examples, and How-To”, provides an in-depth look at worship as a whole.