What is Christian worship? Does the substance, sufficiency, and effect of worship hinge upon the emotions of the participants? God’s presence in Christian worship does not hinge on subjective experience. God is the author of beauty and yet earthly beauty fades. The human soul yearns for eternal beauty. Ancient forms of worship, often eschewed as dead ceremonies by moderns, employ the beauty of earthly things to draw the soul to contemplate eternal verities. Scripture provides the model. The earthly temple was beautiful, and His heavenly temple is unspeakably and unfathomably so. In both instances, visible beauty bespeaks the majesty of the invisible God who gave His creatures physical senses. 

Hymns, written prayers, vestments, candles, incense, stained-glass windows, architecture, pulpit, and table — these visibly display the invisible truth that when the church gathers, heaven and earth meet. The senses — smell, taste, touch, sight, hearing — are all drawn heavenward and become instruments by which the worshiper gives glory to God. 

This Postmodern Realities episode is a conversation with Journal author Matt Kennedy about his article in the 43:1 issue, “The Beauty of Worship: Aesthetics and Truth.”

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