A Feast For The Eyes

Friday, April 11, 1997

Matthew 6:22 – The eye is the lamp of the body. So if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light.

"To live is to taste and touch, to smell and see and listen to, the good things of the earth and rejoice in them. … It is to search for God if you are religiously inclined and, if you are not, to search for something in place of God to give meaning and purpose and value to your scattered days." Frederick Beuchner

Western cultures have become visually oriented cultures. We use visual imagery to indicate knowledge: to "see" something is to comprehend it. Thus, of all the senses, we are most likely to stress the visual. And so we do in churches too:

We put flowers or plants on either side of the table. We change the colours of the stoles. We make sure the cross is visible, front and center. Our pulpits are elevated, so that we can see as well as hear the preacher. Then we sometimes have to put a box in the pulpit so that the guest preacher, especially my wife, can stand tall enough to be seen. Our choirs often sit in the front of the church, or at the back, as here at St. Andrew's, and take a look at them, dressed in bright robes. Some choirs process. Some choirs recess. In an old church like this, we may have beautiful stained glass windows. In newer churches, careful use of modern stained glass design might throw patches of coloured light across the pews or onto the altar. In a bold church, like this one, we use bright banners hanging on the walls. All these things we do to enhance our experience of worship. We are a visually oriented people, and we use colour and form and movement in our worship, or at least we try to add a bit of each to our worship experience.

Prayer: God you give senses like sight in order to enhance our experience of you, the sight of a sunset or the beauty of a baby or the colours of creation. For eyes to behold your beauty, we give you thanks. Amen.

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About the author:

Kenn Stright <kennethstright@yahoo.ca>
West Petpeswick, Nova Scotia, Canada

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