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Article: NARRATIVE, SYMBOL, AND RITUAL TOWARDS A REINTEGRATION OF WORD AND IMAGE (Continued)

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by Colin Harbinson

The Word is our ultimate reference point. As Christians, we too hold a high view of Scripture that should inform a symbolic and ritual practice that is firmly rooted in our narrative—our story. In Christ the invisible was made visible when “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld his glory …” With the incarnation as our model, we must work towards the reintegration of word and image. To do so will bond us more significantly to our story, enrich our spirit, enhance our corporate worship, more effectively engage our postmodern world—and pave the way to welcome back the arts as “front seat” colleagues.

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Dr. Colin Harbinson is dean of the arts at Belhaven College. He is a writer and choreographer, president of International Festival of the Arts, and editor of the Creative Spirit.

1 Brian D. McLaren, A New Kind of Christian (San Francisco 2001), p. 17.
2 Robert Fulford, The Triumph of Narrative (New York 2001), p. 32.
3 Leland Ryken, James C. Wilhoit, and Tremper Longman III, eds., Dictionary of Biblical
          Imagery
(Downers Grove, Ill., 1998), p. XII.
4 James C. Livingston, Anatomy of the Sacred (London 2000), p. 75.
5 A. H. Mathias Zahniser, Symbol and Ceremony (Monrovia, CA, 1997), p. 3.
6 Robert W. Hovda, “Symbol: The Language of Art and Liturgy,” Environment and Art
          Letter
2, 4 (June 1989), pp. 2-3, reprinted in Robert E. Webber, ed., Music and the
          Arts in Christian Worship, Vol. 4, Book 2 (Nashville, TN, 1994), p. 505.
7 Clare Gibson, Sacred Symbols (Rowayton, CT, 1998), pp. 9-10.
8 Gordon Lathrop, “How Symbols Speak,” Liturgy 7, 1 (Summer 1988), pp. 9-13,
          reprinted in Webber, p. 508.
9 Ibid., p. 509.
10 Gibson, p. 7.
11 Lathrop, reprinted in Webber, p. 509.
12 Livingston, p. 77.
13 Zahniser, p. 75.
14 Rabbi Eckstein, What Christians Should Know About Jews and Judaism (Waco 1984),
          p. 96.
15 Ibid., p. 25.
16 Zahniser, p. 68.
17 Lathrop, reprinted in Webber, p. 512.
18 Ibid., p. 511.

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