June 2016

RW 120
THEME: Beauty
Reformed Worship issue cover

Articles in this issue:

  • Why Beauty

    As this issue of Reformed Worship moved from concept to reality, I readily shared with people my excitement about doing an issue on beauty. This news was most often met with a quizzical look. “Beauty?” people asked. I received this reaction so often that I took a step back to rethink the theme. But then I began to wonder more about the responses themselves.

    Why did the theme of beauty so perplex people? Let me suggest a few possible reasons.

  • As I thought ahead to World Communion Sunday, Thanksgiving, and the prayers that arise around those celebrations, I began to reflect on our relationships with our neighbors, both nearby and around the world.

  • Psalm 96 is a rousing psalm of praise calling us to worship a God whose beauty reverberates through the heavens and is mirrored in the worship of God’s gathered people in the sanctuary. Worshiping in such “holy splendor” is a testimony—a common confession that “God is Lord” over all things, all peoples, and especially over all other rival gods.

  • Many Christians are called to be artists. For them, art is the most effective way to express their faith. Calligrapher Timothy R. Botts reflects, “As an artist, I listen to God through my eyes and I’m speaking back to him through what comes out of my hands.” In the ongoing quest of “making visible the invisible,” artists find themselves exploring the age-old notion of beauty within the context of their contemporary Christian visions.

  • Members of Brookside Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Mich., recently experienced a parable presented over several months as they journeyed from brokenness to wholeness. The congregation witnessed how jagged shards that normally would be discarded could become something beautiful and full of meaning. This is their story.
  • Have you ever gone for a walk with a child? Have you noticed how children take delight in little things, how they see beauty and intrigue all around them? For children, the environment that surrounds them is very important, as it either awakens curiosity and awe or dulls their senses. Likewise, worship spaces should have an awe-inducing effect on children.

  • When considering this topic of beauty for Reformed Worship, Diane Dykgraaf asked people in a variety of churches to share how they strive for beauty in their worship. The pictures and responses you see here come from large and small congregations, urban and small-town churches, and people from various ethnic backgrounds. Each has a unique take on how beauty reflects who God is. —JB

    How do you portray or communicate the majesty and beauty of God in your worship?

  • As we walk through a spiritual desert, attending to God’s voice is the surest way to recover our own. Our prayers to God are important; but his words to us are even more so. When we practice the disciplines of solitude, meditation, and silence, we grow in our ability to hear God’s voice through the Holy Spirit and Scripture.

    (from Canyon Road: A Book of Prayer)