My wife and I delight in the fact that all five of our senses come alive in our weekly worship experience. Our eyes behold the beauty of a thoughtfully designed, God inspired, stained-glass-filled sanctuary. Our ears enjoy the sounds of silence, even the preparatory scuffling around that occurs as people arrive and get settled, as well as the spoken and sung liturgy of prayers, hymns, preaching, and the reading of God’s Word. Our mouths savor the taste of the Lord’s Table when each week we’re reminded of Christ’s amazing sacrifice of love in our behalf. Our hands are touched by others and reach out in return when the gift of peace is extended and gracefully embraced. Our noses delight in the sweet smell of candles and incense as their burning presence reminds us of the Spirit we know as Holy.
I’ve often thought about the health of the church after having written and spoken about it for a decade and a half. I’m now convinced that a major marker of health includes the engagement of all five of our senses…not only in our worship, but in our relational fellowship, as well as in sacrificial service to others in Jesus’ name.
Consider for a moment how your church experience invites each of your senses to come alive…
See – where do your eyes land when you are in worship, in your presence among others, among others in the world, and in your service to the Kingdom? Be grateful for what you see with your physical eyes as well as the eyes of your heart.
Hear – what do your ears hear that remind you to pursue godliness in every aspect of your personal and relational life? Be willing to dismiss that which hinders your ability to listen well to that which matters most – the voice of God, directing and empowering you for the abundant life.
Taste – how do you savor the gifts that are offered to you in the breaking of the bread and the sharing of the cup of salvation? Be open to receiving the many offerings of faithfulness granted to you in your fellowship with God and one another, perhaps even over a meal or simply a cup of coffee or cold water.
Touch – who do you offer your hand to as an expression of your love, and from whom shall you be more open to receive from in return? Be gracious and gentle toward all with whom you come in contact, and prayerfully become the arms of God for another in need.
Smell – when do you notice the pleasant odors of perfume within your friendships as well as the perspiration of others who are busy serving and offering their lives before God and those in need? Be observant and in your noticing and give thanks for the scent you notice of the goodness of God.
A multi-sensory church is only possible when the people of God are together as the body of Christ in worship, community, and witness. Jesus invites his followers to come close, draw near, and follow him. in turn, the Church needs to be a people who come close, draw near and follow Jesus together in community.
Do not give up the habit of meeting together. We are Church and as a result we are only Church when we’re united and loving and strong, loving God with heart, soul, mind and body, in both our strength and our weakness.