Wednesday, November 19, 2008

And While I Was There...

...over at Kerry's blog, she had a link to this excellent article by Matt Kennedy.

It's on the use of incense in the church, and on the bigger question of beauty in worship:

God is the author of beauty. Anglican worship seeks to employ all the aspects of God's creation in reflect God's created beauty back to him. God's created beauty comes to us through sight, smell, taste, and touch. And all of these senses are employed in Anglican worship. Incense, music, bells, color, candles...all of these are used to glorify God at Good Shepherd just as they have been used for 2000 years in the Church throughout the world.

According to the witness of the Old Testament, the use of these elements of worship go back to the very establishment of the holy Tabernacle during the exodus. God gave Moses very specific instructions for the construction of his Tabernacle and these included carefully detailed instructions to produce a place of aesthetic beauty.

... God does not seem concerned for utilitarian functionality. He doesn't simply want a lampstand. He wants a beautiful lampstand. Why?...because God is beautiful, he created beauty and beauty brings him glory.

Do read the whole brief article, a wonderful explanation of liturgy and ceremony, with Scripture references and addressed to an evangelical audience.

And if you want a good laugh (particularly those who know what a thurible is or who have ever swung one), read through the comments! The first one sets the tone:

There are two smells in the afterlife - incense and brimstone. I remind people they should choose one and get used to it.


Donna Boucher said...

How interesting!

My grandpa was from Greece, therefore he was Greek Orthodox. I smelled the incense at his funeral.

It made me gag.

This is not a good sign.

At A Hen's Pace said...


I know! The comments were all about what happens if you over-use incense--

...and there was one true story in which the rector (of an anti-incense congregation) discovered he was out of incense, but he processed in, swinging the empty thurible anyway--and STILL people were coughing and gagging!!

I thought that was hilarious.



Kerry said...

HAHAHA! That is funny, Jeanne. The power of suggestion, huh? Thanks for the link and the "ad" for the carnival. I'm going to post a reminder today, too.

Activities Coordinator said...

I refer to myself as the un-C&E Christian. I can't go to high masses that use incense, and neither can my asthmatic child.

Do you think Brimstone causes wheezing? :)

Anne Kennedy said...

Thanks for linking Matt! We're trying to work it out for me to come December 3rd and maybe bring the two oldest. Our van won't make the long drive and we don't all fit in the smaller car. We'll see, its looking hopeful. I would So Love to meet you if we make it.