Monday, October 10, 2011

The Bonding Power of the Senses

Our physical senses are amazing, especially when they experience something for the first time. They bind memories and emotions into our minds. The sense of touch is especially profound in building connections between people. Whether it's a the first time holding your significant other's hand, the first kiss with your spouse, or the first time holding your child in your arms, there is a bond formed with that first touch. I've had the joy of experiencing the first two listed above and am eager to experience the third in the coming months. A recent touch was nearly as special, though, and that was feeling my little girl kick for the first time. I knew I loved my daughter before I knew we were expecting a daughter, but there is a new bond that has formed on the basis of that first touch sensation.

I think the ritual and ceremony of the liturgy allows the strengthening of that bond in our relationship with God. All of the senses are brought to bear on the beauty of worship. The sound of the music and the chorus voices of the congregation, the smell of the burning candles and (if it is a solemn ceremony) of the incense, the taste of the wine, the sight of the sun shining through the stained glass, and the feeling of the wafer in your hands and the eucharist cup as it is pressed to your lips. When we allow our physical senses to become part of our expression of thanksgiving, reverence, and communion with God the bond between creature and Creator is strengthened.

Savor your senses as a means for being drawn to our Savior; allow them to solidify your bond with Him. Just as the feeling of a loved ones hand in yours carries with it the totality of the emotions and the weight of the commitment you have towards that other, allow the physical expression of your relationship to God carry the same emotion and sense of commitment. We are physical beings and in need of physical worship. So as you worship Him in spirit and truth, don't forget to worship Him in sight, sound, scent, taste, and touch.

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