One criticism that is leveled at conservative evangelicals like myself is that we make no place for the senses or creativity and the arts in worship. This I do not believe is accurate characterization of the conservative evangelical view on these particular subjects. It is certainly not mine.
I see no problem with worship as a multi-sensory experience provided that such an experience truly engages all the senses in the worship of God and is not used simply as justification for the reintroduction of ceremonies, customs, and usages that were rejected at the Reformation for valid reasons. I have no objection to the use of bright colors in the communion table cover, the pulpit and lectern falls, and the kneeling cushions. I find nothing in the Scriptures that says that the environment in which we worship must be somber or colorless. God has filled the world around us with color.
I have not objection to engaging the olfactory senses in the worship of God provided that it not used as an excuse for offering incense during the service. This is not to say that frankincense might not be burned in the worship space on a special occasion before the service to set that occasion apart from other occasions. This was the practice of the seventeenth century Anglican poet priest George Herbert at his little parish of of Fugglestone St Peter with Bemerton St Andrew, near Salisbury. Or frankincense essential oil might be rubbed on the legs of the chairs in which the worshipers are to sit during the service.
If the bread used in the Holy Communion is to have strong value as a sign, it should look like bread. It should smell like bread. It should have the texture of bread, and it should taste like bread. What Jesus took into his hands when he gave thanks was not white paste wafers. It was also not modern Jewish matzo. It in all likelihood bore a resemblance to the flat unleavened breads of the Mid-East of today.
I certainly see a place for creativity and the arts in worship. Here again I must add the same caveat for multi-sensory worship experiences.
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