If Emerson revealed truth, my mind might be gargantuan: “Foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds.” Apart from hat size, paradox prevails in my life. Just last week we explored how we can be “Cursed by Quality,” that a certain level of quality in worship may build expectations of regularity, and if the leaders don’t continue on that level, we experience frustration instead of ecstacy. But let’s flip the coin, because we can also be paradoxically “Blessed by Quality.”
The worship team at our church is good. Very good. Now remember, I’m an old hippie Jesus freak who loved worship with just one guy and his guitar. But one week, the team expanded. Two horns, one a sax, the other nice but I couldn’t name it. A violin player added some kind of music that accented the worship. I heard he was the top rated country violinist west of the Mississippi. I believe it. This on top of the regular keyboard and piano players, drums and percussion, and a variety of guitars. Soloists blended it with the congregational singing, and we all got outside ourselves, lost in the quality of worshipping a beautiful God.
I may be a simplistic old hippie, but I’m not too rigid to not enjoy a variety of ways to enjoy God. Even so, the exceptional quality blew me away. I lean toward minimalism, but I learned something. Quality and excellence and beauty are their own rewards. Something in our nature resonates with them. Why?
They flow from the nature of God. And, our souls are restless until we reconnect with our source. Does that make sense? Beauty may have no practical benefit in the world. The smell of a rose would still attract pollinating bees even if the colors were horrid. And as best I can tell, my cat never enjoys the sunset when I carry him outside for a walk. He likes looking around, but ignores the palette of colors in the western sky.
Granted, excellence may seduce us all into worship becoming a performance for people’s praise. I get that. But I, and I suspect many of my generation, defaulted to simplicity of music, of architecture, and of life and lost some appreciation for beauty. For quality. For excellence.
Not only did I experience exalted worship that day, I deepened my appreciation of beauty. For beauty’s sake. For God’s sake.
Kick Starting the Discussion
Do you share a similar default that church shouldn’t be too nice? For you, where did that come from? What has it cost you over the years? How has it benefitted you? Spend some time reflecting on the link between the nature of God and beauty, excellence, quality, and please share that, either on the blog or Facebook.