Sacramento's "Bleeding Statue" Shrine
Many, mainly Roman Catholic faithful, are being drawn to a claimed "bleeding statue" of Virgin Mary outside of a Vietnamese Catholic church. A substance that is red, with a similar look to blood is running from an eye of the statue. Many faithful are praying outside of the statue seeing this as a miracle.
What's the harm in this? It is clear from lessons in the Scripture that worship of God only has to be incorrect to be wrong in the eyes of God. In the earliest example from the Old Testament, both Cain and Abel both offered sacrifices to God, however only Abel offered a blood sacrifice, while the "sacrifice" of Cain was a vegetable and not satisfactory in the eyes of God. In fact the heart of Cain was so far from that of God, that Cain committed the world's first documented murder of his brother, Abel.
In another example from the Old Testament, only a few specific Priests were allowed to handle the Ark Of The Covenant. This object was so holy, since it was the throne that God would use in the temple. In one example, a well intentioned man attempted to grab one of the four handles when a Priest tripped on a rock or some object. This well intentioned man was immediately struck dead by God according to the account in Scripture.
What can be drawn from both examples is that Cain offered a sacrifice, but it was not acceptable to God as it was not a blood sacrifice in accordance with God's requirements. So failure to to fully follow the requirements of God, puts one at odds with God. But in the second lesson involving the attempt by the well intentioned man to prevent the Ark Of The Covenant from falling to the ground, it is clear that only the absolute letter of the law requirement from God was acceptable. Good intentions do not count with God. Only absolute compliance with the letter of the law with God.
The lesson in all of this is that the "bleeding statue" in Sacramento lures faithful of God into incorrect or unScriptural worship. This clearly lures some of the most religious and strongest followers of God into forms of worship that are not acceptable to God or that are in conflict with traditional Scriptural examples of God speaking to his faithful.
It is clear from Scripture, both in the Old and New Testament that all worship is to be to God himself. Worship of any saint, including, Mary a very faithful and loyal servant of God who deserves all good respect of any good saint of God, is not Scriptural. The question is raised , why would God somehow speak to persons by not sending himself, but by using a saint from Scripture rather than a prophet as was done in all Old and New Testament examples. In fact, Jesus never sought praise or worship of himself, and always offered prayer to God as his father, and performed any miracles by calling on God, his father in all known examples in specified in Scripture.
Another major problem is that nearly all so-called miracle examples have a perfectly natural and not supernatural explanation, or in other cases may prove to be a mere hoax. And they encourage persons to violate the "graven image" worship prohibition in the Ten Commandments when they pray and worship at a shrine, or through a statue. Roman Catholics often use Mary statues for this purpose, while Protestants often misuse Ten Commandment monuments such as the 5,200 lb. one placed outside the Alabama Supreme Court building by Judge Roy Moore for the same shrine worship purposes. Yet from the clear and unchanging text of the Ten Commandments, such worship of a "graven image" or shrine is not acceptable to God.
Praying outside of shrines in common in some cultures. Many in the Mexican Catholic community have elaborate home shrines, and many stores including Safeway and others offer candles, glassworks items with Mary or Jesus illustrated, for home shrine use. Yet nowhere in Scripture did God or even Jesus change the requirement that specifically outlawed praying through a shrine. In the example of the Ark Of The Covenant, God himself would occupy this throne in the temple. The Ark itself was not prayed through.
Some of the most faithful of God need to carefully consider whether they could be led astray by a spiritual counterfeit. And on the face of it, praying through a statue as a shrine has many problems with it that seem to violate not only the traditional way in which God works by sending actual prophets to teach, but lures many of the best Christians into a form of idol worship that puts them at odds with the basic teachings of God. Most "bleeding statues" or other items can be a dangerous deception that encourages wrong or false worship that lures the faithful from God, rather than increases their relationship with God. And that's a clear spiritual danger to be considered in any shrine worship.