Sunday, September 28, 2014

In Defense of Beauty--Even the Expensive Kind

"I lift my eyes up. Where does my help come from?"

Surrounded by grandeur in its majestic stillness these words unspoken echo in my spirit. My spirit, that is at once calmed as my eyes lift heavenward, as I recall my place as creature.

Beloved--yes. God's image--yes.

Yet at the same time, I am small. One of the masses. Not God. Unable to be God. Only able to bend a knee at the mention of God's name.

Worship. I suppose that is what this is. The sudden call to reverence invoked by no words, but by a place.

By beauty.

By grandeur.

Two places have brought me to this state of worship, this radical realignment of who I am and who God is.

One place untouched by man.

Phelps Lake, Grand Teton National Park

The other, designed entirely by man.

St. Vitus Cathedral, Prague

Place is important. Beauty is important.

We are weak creatures and need inspiration to worship, to be faithful, and to seek God.

We need beautiful places to authentically be God's people.

I used to criticize extravagance in the name of worship. "Think how many people that could feed?" I would think and occasionally say. I'm not the only one in history with these sentiments.

But as I continue to look around, I don't think people are hungry because of building beautiful churches (or for that matter for protecting beautiful places).

People are hungry because other people are greedy. And maybe, just maybe, building and protecting places that inspire worship will ultimately lead to more generous people.

Can prioritizing worship really help to feed the poor?

If not, I don't think we're worshiping well.

"I lift my eyes up."

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