Beautiful Worship

Jonathan Wilson writes,

"The reason we can casually assert and agree that Israel’s worship is word centered and image (beauty) rejecting is because these are the portions of the Old Testament we skip over because we find them boring. The care, precision, and standards of excellence recorded in those passages make it clear that God cares about the beauty of our worship. Indeed, beuty here really represents a call to excellence in our worship of God. But this excellence must be crefully developed from an understanding of worship as a practice that embodies the telos (aim, goal, end) of the church, constitutes a community, seeks internal goods, and extends our conception of what beauty means for the church. In a world obsessed with distorted notions of beauty and a church whose members are often wounded by those notions, the church must not deny the importance of beauty but must transform the meaning of beauty by the practice of it’s worship."


Dr. Tim Spivey is Lead Planter of New Vintage Church in San Diego, California. He is the author of numerous articles and one book, "Jesus: The Powerful Servant." A sought after speaker for events, Tim also serves as Adjunct Professor of Religion at Pepperdine University. Tim serves as a church consultant, and his writings are featured on, Church Executive magazine, Faith Village, Sermon Central, and Giving Rocket.

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5 thoughts on “Beautiful Worship

  1. Is this from Why Church Matters? I’ve got to get around to JW. I like this. I think it’s hard to argue, coming from the simplicity of our tradition, for big expenses towards beauty, but I think beauty is a great way to communicate good news. A lot of what happens in Revelation, as much as its a model for worship, comes down to aesthetic exchange that’s communicating something from and toward God that no amount of hymns and preaching can do (present company excepted, of course).

  2. Art, music and other forms of creativity are powerful forms of worship in their own rite. When shared they become powerful forms of corporate worship.
    I think our “off the shelf” and “Oprah set” atmospheres sort of miss the beauty by not featuring more of those things.
    How cool would it be, to have grand sculptures of Biblical scenes take up permanent residence in our churches.
    That would be something men could appreciate. That would be something that the visually oriented could get into. That sort of beauty would inspire folks to learn. That sort of beauty would move people to do good things and share with folks.
    Now, imagine an environment that was a little more complex than just sculpture. We have beauty and creativity that is dying to get out of the cage. The worst part is, the cage is only imaginary. I really don’t know what is stopping us.

  3. Defining what is beautiful and excellent would help a bit here. Which images are under consideration? The images of the tabernacle? The temple? The articles of worship like the altar or censure? (sp?) The tapestry of the garments of the high priest or priests? Those images or something else?

  4. Big White Hat…he’s essentially saying that worship should be beautiful and excellent…not something that is an emphasis of most churches…in part because they skip over Old Testament passages they find boring which speak of how corporate worship happened.