Monday, August 7, 2017

For Glory and For Beauty

 Exodus 28:2 “And you shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for glory and for beauty.”

I am studying in the book of Exodus right now.  I was struck as I read this verse in Exodus 28:2.  I wasn’t able to move beyond it until I gave it some thought.  Why would the idea that God would do something for the expressed purpose of beauty surprise me?  Like some of you I was a part of a renewal movement during the 1960’s and 70’s.  It was birthed by a hunger to know God in a more intimate way than the forms and rituals of religion alone.  It produced a radical pursuit of God through Jesus and the Holy Spirit.  That spirit of yearning, motivated by the Love for God, created, in some ways, a disdain for the more formal forms of worship.  There was a “throwing out the baby with the bathwater” approach to this new era of church planting and Christian practice.  It was reflected in the architecture and quality of our meeting places, the lack of grandeur in our spiritual gatherings and even the clothes that we wore.  In many ways it was a necessary departure from the old norms in order to discover a more vibrant worship lifestyle.  We placed our emphasis on knowing God personally and worshipping from our hearts.  It was all centered around the indwelling, active, motivating Holy Spirit.  I have to ask if something was missing from our renewal journey?  Probably not in the sense of that time as that approach made the main thing the main thing.  Yet, God is bigger than our revelation of the hour.  He is always larger and grander than our present revelation and understanding. Now back to beauty.  God loves beauty and values beauty.  When I read of the plans for the tabernacle and the detail given to the garments of the priests I see over and again that God cares about quality and beauty.  We have almost come to believe that if the Holy Spirit does it that it must be crude with no thought of beauty being involved.  However, the first time the Scripture mentions the Holy Spirit filling someone it relates to God filling the artisans with the Holy Spirit to skillfully work on His designs in clothes and buildings.  Certainly these are Old Testament instructions and we are now the temple of the Holy Spirit but that doesn’t change God’s taste, His pleasure and His quality in all he does and leads us to do.  That brings us to appreciate His Glory and Beauty.  I visited the Louvre in Paris last winter.  It made me aware of how much of the old art had a religious theme.  Many of them were anointed to create what the Holy Spirit led them to design.  The same is true in music and much of the Arts.  That doesn’t mean that all art and all music are good.  It does mean that we need to open our minds to a broader appreciation to the work of the Holy Spirit.  May we release the gifts already given to the Church by encouraging those around us to discover their God given gifts and talents and use them for His Glory and Beauty. 

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