Spiritualpractice 32

Beauty is one of our ways of touching the Divine. We make beauty happen in so many ways: dance, poetry, painting, sculpture, quilting, architecture, music… Each is a means of expressing what we most yearn for – a world of order, peace, celebration, harmony, comfort… In worship, we often use music to express that deepest yearning: we lament, we pray, we shout our alleluias, we voice our pain, we share our love. When life is deeply felt, music gives shape and voice to our experience. The act of singing together of life lived and felt binds heart and mind with ordered sound. Interestingly, many people tend to expect our church experience to be intelligent, but not necessarily beautiful. Any emphasis on beauty as a way to God was often muted over the ages in favour of cool intellectualism. Think of the periods of Christian history that did away with icons, banners, statues, tapestries, ritual, symbols… Thankfully, we seem to have understood that our human soul requires reminders that one of the attributes of the Divine is Beauty. Expressing beauty through a variety of forms of art is a means to find God beyond words. In a world of mystery and paradox, we move beyond facts to an understanding based on apprehending beauty. Our Christian faith is once again moving: from being the Truth of rational speculation to being an exploration of the exquisite truthfulness of beauty. Art is a refined form of prayer.