What is Beautiful Worship?

Posted at Reformation Scotland:

Beautiful worship creates different mental images for different people. Some will see the finest vestments, artwork and candles and a profusion of colour and goldleaf. They will hear the finest music and perhaps smell wafting incense. Others are thinking of elegant “contemporary” style. It too involves the “right” clothes, music and imagery. Still others are attracted to something in between that borrows from both. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The standard of beauty is subjective not objective. Yet what standard of beauty does God have when it comes to worship?

It is easy to take our preferred standard of beauty and then consecrate that for the purposes of worship. Yet this leaves us with the holiness of beauty rather than the beauty of holiness. What is it to “worship Lord in the beauty of holiness” (Psalm 29:2)? David Dickson comments that the public worship of God was beautiful in the temple “not for timber or stones so much, as because the holy and beautiful means of grace to men, and God’s worship showing forth his glory was there to be found”. Our worship and submission to God is only “sanctified, and made acceptable when it is offered in and through Christ, and in society with His Church represented by the sanctuary, here called the beauty of holiness”.


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