Thursday, February 21, 2013
Beauty and Truth
The fact that we can perceive things as beautiful, I believe, points to the existence of a God who loves beauty and created us in his own image. I talked about this in yesterday's reflection. Yet beauty also calls us to God as it inspires in us a yearning for the author of beauty.
Worshiping something beautiful, whether it is natural or made by human beings, is idolatry. Yet, when I allow the beauty of this world to become a signpost to God, then I am drawn to worship the one true God, the creator of all things, the source of beauty who is himself beautiful.While I am pretty Calvinist in my orientation, one of the places I take great exception is in the ornamentation of houses of worship. Some are indeed over the top. Weltenberg Abbey is gorgeous, but its ornamentation includes a less than subtle statue of its designer and a fresco of its builder - idolatry seems a real possibility there. But others can truly press you to your knees in worship of the creator. It is not ornamentation, but the attitude of the designer/builder and the viewer that makes the difference.
It seems that there are two important things when it comes to this attitude, one taking ourselves out of the equation, and two taking the maker out of the equation, which means the maker to some extent has to take himself out of it. In the end, art is NOT self-expression, it is, like preaching, expressing the Word. I wonder what modern art would look like that if artists thought that way. I wonder what contemporary worship would look like too.
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