Our senses are gifts from God, enjoy them | Faithful Living

Christianity without beauty becomes a disembodied religion of the mind.

— Gary Thomas, Sacred Pathways

Last October my husband and I spent 10 days in France. It was a remarkable trip for us as we had saved airline miles for years and happily redeemed those miles for free stays at hotels, rental car expenses and airfare.

We worked hard to make our trip happen and we were not disappointed for many reasons.

Our first joy was learning that we are compatible travelers.

Armed with backpacks, Rick Steves tour guides, and comfortable shoes, we hit the pavement with enthusiasm each day. It helps that my husband has a natural sense of direction and reads maps with ease.

He’s also early for everything. We had great fun because we were never lost or late.

We also have a “give and take” attitude when traveling together and choose to be spontaneous as often as possible.

When rain and wind drenched Paris one day, we pulled up our hoods and headed to the Eiffel Tower, armed with Whidbey Island sensibilities.

Sure enough, most visitors chose to take refuge in nearby cafes, enabling us to walk right up to the ticket window and onto the tower’s elevator. Other hearty souls joined us and we thrilled at seeing Paris covered in rain drops.

Another afternoon we walked into a cathedral filled with sights, sounds and scents that remain with me to this day.

While many of our cathedral forays were quiet, this particular church was alive. Incense filled the air. An organist practiced with gusto. Sunshine filled stained glass windows with dramatic color.

We watched worshippers light candles and took in the grandeur of the architecture and sculptures with added awe.

These experiences are the very things that light the fire of enthusiasm and love for God in people who author Gary Thomas calls “sensates.”

These people are drawn particularly to the liturgical, the majestic, and the grand.

Incense, intricate architecture, classical music and formal language send their hearts soaring.

If your pathway to God is built strongly using your senses, you will long for experiences, especially during corporate worship, when you are invited to take in traditional sounds and smells.

Most likely you are drawn to formal worship experiences and traditions.

Your heart soars at the sound of an organ and choir. You like to arrive early so you can feast your eyes on your surroundings.

You long to taste communion bread and sip the wine.

Your heart fills when you can help prepare a sanctuary for worship, participate in a reading, light candles, hold a hymnal, ring bells, or bring flowers to share.

Can you be a sensate and have more modern preferences? Oh sure. You may prefer a band, a contemporary worship leader, and wearing jeans and a T-shirt! But you also like to know that these elements are part of your worship tradition and won’t change on a dime.

Our senses are gifts from God. Enjoy all the ways you can draw ever nearer to Him and ask God to help you better understand His truths through the beautiful expressions you can discover around you.


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