Monday, February 27, 2012

For the Beauty of the Earth

If you asked me what my favorite flower is, I'd immediately tell you the daffodil. Odd, considering that yellow is one of my least favorite colors. But there is something about that first flower of springtime that brings hope and beauty to an otherwise bleak landscape.
The college I attended was literally located on the edge of a cliff overlooking a river. The hiking in that area was amazing. But my favorite place to go was just a little ways off the main road, back in the woods (yes, it was marked "no trespassing"). There were ruins of an old house, just a chimney and foundation now, but in the spring, it was also a riotous field of daffodils. Simply breathtaking!
This past fall, my oldest and I planted daffodil bulbs in our backyard. We've had to wait all winter to see if they would take, not knowing if they'd rotted in our unusually warm winter or were just waiting to surprise us. Just this week we noticed their little green shoots all over the yard, and I can't wait to see their yellow and white heads waving to us any day now.
For me, daffodils are a sign of hope and beauty. They are tenacious little things, taking over whole swaths of landscape if given enough time. They remind us that beauty needs a time to rest and recover after a long hard bloom, but also that it can't be held back, even by the harshest winter.
I find hope in that because one of the things that my current church lacks is a sense of beauty in its worship and its space. Yes, we did hang our banners. Good first step. But each year I've tried to jazz up our space for holy days like Easter, Pentecost, etc., there is always someone who believes (and feels free to criticize) creativity and art in the sanctuary as either tacky, distracting, "too much", etc. (Protestant aesthetics, anyone?)
Our music program is also lackluster to say the best.
Right now, it's the daffodils that are saving my soul. I find I need beauty to thrive, maybe even to survive. I need it in my daily life and I need it in my worship. I don't have it in my worship right now, even as I try to incorporate it, it's not there.
I feel envy as I look at the worship spaces of churches who understand art as an integral part of worship. Everything we create, we create because we ourselves are made by a Creator. We were fearfully and wonderfully made by the same God who made daffodils, or roses, or robins, or whatever your favorite flower, bird, etc. is.
My feeling is, that if it's distracting, etc., it is because we don't know the right way to use/appreciate it in the context of worship. Now, how does one go about teaching that?

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