The Primary Visual Arts For Worship

Source: The Complete Library of Christian Worship, Robert E. Webber, General Editor

Cultural and historical developments have directly influenced the ways that color, form, and design have been used in the worship environment. In semiliterate societies, the illustrated word carries more meaning and, therefore, more power than the read or printed word. Visual art creates a context that can demonstrate relationships between people, objects, and concepts more efficiently than other media. Contemporary North American culture is becoming image dominated. Television, film,...

An Introduction To The Primary Visual Arts In Worship

There are three primary liturgical furnishings for the setting of worship: the pulpit, the Table (or altar), and the baptismal font (or pool). The size, shape, and placement of these furnishings vary according to the setting in which worship takes place. The following comments relate to the current understanding of the place and function of the primary symbols in a renewal worship.

Evaluating The Place Of The Lectern, Pulpit, And Bible

This article clarifies the purpose of the lectern (here discussed using the synonymous term ambo), pulpit, and Bible. Embellishments that characterized these items in earlier times are less appropriate when the action of proclamation is emphasized over the adoration of beauty.

Evaluating The Place Of The Altar Or Table

This article argues that the altar should serve as a focal point in the worship space. It discusses both the theological rationale for this idea and how it can be achieved through spatial arrangements and seating patterns. It is presented from a Roman Catholic perspective but introduces ideas that can inform discussions in many worshiping traditions.

Scriptural Perspectives On The Altar

The altar was a significant part of Old Testament worship, serving as a place for ritual sacrifices and symbolizing the presence of God. In the New Testament, Jesus Christ fulfilled and superseded Old Testament sacrifices by his sacrifice on the cross.

Advice On The Use Of The Table

The visual appearance of the Table or altar is important in communicating its meaning. This article offers advice for how to present the Table so that it will serve as a symbol of Christ's presence with the people at worship.

Actions Of Reverence At The Eucharist And The Design Of The Table

Christians in many worshiping traditions use a variety of ritual actions to indicate their reverence for the worship of God and participation in the sacrament of the Eucharist. This article explains what these actions of reverence look like and how the architectural design of the sacramental symbols can enhance their meaning.

Historical And Theological Perspectives On The Baptismal Font

The placement and appearance of the baptismal font has been the subject of many debates throughout the history of the church. This article traces many of these discussions and offers suggestions for current practice.

The Font As A Place For Burial, Birth, And Bath

The sacrament of Christian baptism presents a variety of symbolic meanings. In one ritual act, the new Christian is buried with Christ in his death, is birthed to a new life with Christ, and is washed of sin and impurity. This article explains the relationship of these meanings and their implications for the design of baptismal fonts and the practice of baptism today.

Fonts For Function And Meaning: Some Worthy Examples

Once the theological rationale for the design of the font has been established, artists, architects, and craftspersons face the challenge of shaping a font that reflects those convictions. This article describes three thoughtful examples of recently constructed fonts.