Discussing religious tradition, ceremony and the use of icons with an Orthodox believer, I quoted from Hebrews 10 that “the law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves.” These things are intended “tutors,” as Paul called them (Gal. 3:24,25), nothing more. They can easily become distractions.
“If you kiss a photo of your family you are not substituting them. It is a reminder. Nobody thinks the icon substitutes Jesus,” came one reply.
But the photos are put down when the family is there. By faith I interact with God all day long. Photos (and icons), as valuable as they are, can wait.