09 February 2010

New Lutheran Quote of the Day

Liturgy may become something vaguely sentimental or a cult of the beautiful. Instead of worshipping God in the "beauty of holiness," we may instead worship Him in the "holiness of beauty." Beauty then exercises a demonic spell over the worshipper that blocks any real encounter with God. Liturgical forms no longer act as bearers of the holy but are viewed as holy in themselves. So the possibility of entering a relationship with the holy, the source of man's life and righteousness, is prevented by an idolatrous attachment to symbols robbed of their transparency. -- Earnest Koenker, *Worship in Word and Sacrament* p. 73


Rev. James Leistico said...

Larry Peters made a similar point (and then some) yesterday

Anastasia Theodoridis said...

Beauty is more "transparent" than ugliness is. Usually.

Of course, it mustn't be beauty for its own sake, but carefully created, crafted, and arranged so as to point constantly to God and not be a distraction. There's a certain mystical art to making the kind of beauty that appeals to the soul rather than the consumer-ego.

William Weedon said...

Thanks, Jimbo.

I agree, Anastasia. There is a kind of beauty that cries: "Look at me!" There is a kind of beauty that cries: "What a merciful and loving God!"