I thought on this day that many in the West "celebrate" or "glorify" the spiritual ugliness inherent in Halloween, I would post something I have been pondering concerning Beauty. And I want to thank Mat Carson, Director of OM Arts International, for helping me to set my brain on things like this -
The relational God Who brings order out of chaos has invited us into the process of His ongoing creative acts - right down to having children, refining culture, or shaping the physical and invisible architecture of Worship.
One of the things we have been considering in the Arts, is that "Beauty is Hospitable" - I liken that to the warm feeling of invitation that comes from approaching a well-laid and appointed dining room table. In fact, when it comes to Worship, we are told in the Scriptures that Worship itself is Hospitable - The Lord God has chosen to inhabit the praises of His people.
The effort God went to in order to give instructions concerning His Tabernacle, His Temple, and the Beauty and Order that went into that, (not to mention the order that is found in our physical universe) demonstrate to us how concerned God is that there is a reciprocal relationship between Worship, Beauty, Order, Structure, all for the purpose of Hosting "right relationship".
But lest we get stuck in the Old Testament, the New Testament has the same instruction - in the unseen recesses of the heart - God still wants to inhabit the praises of His redeemed people, corporately, but also individually - which is why we are all likened to being the Temple of the Holy Spirit. For a New Testament redeemed Jew, this temple metaphor would bring enormous meaning - including Beauty (virtue), Structure (order and governance), and yes, right Relationships.
Hence the enormous emphasis on Discipleship, and now Spiritual Formation - we have been tasked with the privilege of Hosting well the Holy Spirit, and living our lives out as Living Sacrifices of Worship for the Most High God - to behold the Beauty, the Beauty of the Lord - to inquire in His Temple - The Temple of the Lord (with all New Testament meaning intended!). This cannot be done without some form of governance and structure - God is not the author of confusion or chaos - in fact, He intrinsically reacts to confusion to bring Meaning, and He intrinsically responds to chaos, to bring Beauty and right Order.
And the minute we become more enamored with our structures, or serve our structures, or spiritualize our structural preferences, over maintaining right relationships with one-another and with The Lord God, we have then left Beauty, and strayed into the ugliness of Idolatry...