I was struck again this morning with the strong sense of the inter-relation between beauty, truth, and holiness. Beauty is a pathway into the soul. We need to be more attentive regarding the ways that we can work this truth into our daily practices of faith and life…
Jaroslav Pelikan says in Jesus Through the Centuries:
“Within that triad of the Beautiful, the True, and the Good, invoked… as a way of expressing the many facets of the meaning of Jesus for human culture… the Beautiful was (and is) the most subtle and the most dangerous of the triad: the dangers of identifying the Holy with the True (intellectualism) and with the Good (moralism) have manifested themselves repeatedly… but it is noteworthy that both the Second Commandment itself and the message of the Hebrew prophets singled out the identification of the Holy with the Beautiful as the special temptation to sin.”
I think that in our evangelical culture in the United States, emphasizing beauty in worship is often frowned upon as an attitude that inevitably leads to idolatry (or Catholicism! Although I guess to some those are one and the same). I remember a passage somewhere in the Screwtape Letters where a demon is encouraged to tempt a man to pray near a cross as if his prayers would be ineffective without it.
But our country’s Protestant church culture, with its Calvinist undertones, has perhaps been too cautious and has leaned too far in the other direction!
Also check out this blog post. I think he says it all