Bezalel's Compass

July 20, 2013

Liturgy, Architecture and Theology

“Liturgy is a splendid NT word that carries a wealth of meaning, all of which is bound up with the idea of service to God. It is applied to the priests, the offerings, the vessels of the temple used in the service of God (Luke 1:23, Heb. 9:21),  the “sacrificial service” (Phil 2:17), and the service of officers of the Church. That this evensongword liturgy should come to be used of worship indicates the importance with which worship was rightly held as service! But the service of worship must be governed not by tradition, let alone by aesthetics, but by theology. Thus Conrad H. Massa has well said that for the Reformers “the liturgy of the Church was the working out of its theology in the activity of corporate worship.” Thus, there is a propriety in speaking, as does Hammond, of “liturgy and architecture,” and meaning very much the same as “theology and architecture.” Architecture, however, must be liturgy (i.e., service to God) in working out the theology of a church [building] in its physical structure. Just as liturgy is theology in action, so architecture is theology in material structure. Thus liturgy seems a word more appropriate to describe the role of architecture, rather than its underlying basis. Both architecture and liturgy must be determined by theology”. -Bruggink and Droppers, Christ and Architecture

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September 18, 2012

Choir of Angels

Where should a choir be stationed in a church? Should the choir be visible? In a loft? In the background supporting the congregation? Up front and center?  When I was in Venice during Pentecost at San Marco, I was slack jawed at the choir of angels that sang from an invisible “beyond”. Unseen, the choir pulled the congregation of the temporal faithful into the realm of the eternal. The call of holy communion was administered within and among the incorporeal church militant. This is the power of art that stops time. How else might architecture affect how we  worship?

San Marco, Venice

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