Catechetical Aesthetics with Pastor Mize (Part 1)

Pastor Gaven Mize of Augustana Lutheran Church in Hickory, NC has begun producing a series of really great videos about the significance of what we see in church.

These videos are exceedingly practical. For example, Pr. Mize makes a helpful connection between liturgical architecture and God’s presence. Where things like the altar, pulpit, and font are central, we have a visual reminder that God’s presence is not to be sought in our emotions, but in those objective, concrete places where He has promised to be—in His Word and Sacraments.

Below the video you will find a series of questions Pr. Mize has written up exclusively for Steadfast Lutherans to help pastors and congregations dig a little deeper into this study. Enjoy!

A Congregational Study of the “Teach us, Augustana” Classes: Class I
Rev. Gaven M. Mize
Augustana Evangelical Lutheran Church

(This study should be conducted by the pastor to help the members learn what our churches teach us properly)

What are aesthetics?

When we look to purchase a home does it matter what the house looks like? Why?

Should we expect less for the house of the Lord than what you expect for your family to live in?

What does it mean to be “catechized?”

What things are teaching tools? Can what we see teach us the one true faith?

What does “catechetical aesthetics” mean?

Why does the presence of God really mean?

Where do we find the presence of God in the Holy Word of God?

When the presence of God was placed in the arc of the covenant did it matter to God what the arc looked like?

Where did the presence of God move?

Did the temple that God chose (St. Mary’s womb) matter to God? Was that temple called “blessed?”

Where is the presence of God today? In the font? On the Altar?

Should we beautify the things that hold the very presence Christ?

What does your church aesthetics teach you about the faith?

In what ways can you help your pastor/congregation beautify the aesthetics that teach us the faith?


Catechetical Aesthetics with Pastor Mize (Part 1) — 2 Comments

  1. I recently concluded a trip to a poor developing country where I visited a small but vibrant congregation that crowds itself into a shabby hotel conference room every Sunday morning. I don’t remember seeing anything inspirational in the aesthetics. What I remember is that their joy in Christ was evident in their worship, and that I was welcomed with civility and love.

    “The Most High does not dwell in houses made by hands.” Acts 7:48

    “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35

  2. Perhaps not remembering that you saw anything inspirational in the aesthetics has much to do with not looking rather than them not being there. I make a point in my presentation about seeing someone baptized from a Cool-Whip container. They didn’t do this to show off the humble surroundings as a stage show; they did it because it was the best they had. It was the VERY best they had. So, well done good and faithful servants.

    I would also like to add that the verses you tried to proof-text against what I taught actually further my argument here. Of course, the Most High dwells in us by faith. You won’t find one word against that in my presentation. Yet, I assume you go to a church. I can also safely assume that that church is a building. Why on God’s green Earth would we not want things in that building that teach us the faith? To say otherwise is just plain silly and being argumentative or the sake of it.

    Further, loving our neighbor DOES NOT in anyway say that we shouldn’t have a church building that teaches us the faith. In fact, it suggests the very opposite. It is a place where we dwell because God has promised to be there in Word and Sacrament.

    If you find nobility in not using the finest and best teaching tools for the people who gather into the House of the Lord, cool. But, please don’t pretend like this has no merit because you googled a few bible verses that you thought applied.

    “Let them construct a sanctuary for Me, that I may dwell among them. “According to all that I am going to show you, as the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furniture, just so you shall construct it.” Exodus 25:8-9

    See. It’s easy.

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