If you attend worship services this New Year's weekend, you may need a message title that gets you out of bed.
The title, "Aha!" does just that. The Rev. Joel Tucker submitted that entry in a sermon title contest I ran on Facebook. I conducted the contest to get a discussion started on spirituality. The Rev. Tucker's sermon is based on Matthew 2:1-12, a story about three wise men visiting Jesus following the gospel writer's birth story.
The Rev. Tucker serves as senior pastor of Guyton (Ga.) Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). According to the church's website, the pastor plays several instruments, such as saxophone, bass guitar and bass fiddle.
Besides the Rev. Tucker's fine entry in my contest, two other entries need to be mentioned as well. Martha Lynn Wilson wrote, "God is Preparing Our Way." The Rev. Dr. Clinton Bennett added, "God Moved into Our Neighborhood," borrowed from Eugene Patterson.
"Aha!" is such a fitting title for this brain health recovery website. After all, the arts are all about creating the sense of awe and wonder when someone expresses ideas of beauty. Religion and spirituality also center on that feeling of awe. That sense of awe is found throughout all religion and spiritual practice. It is found throughout all forms of art as well.
This website supports an interfaith dialogue on faith and religion. Spirituality is essential to brain health. However, like art, religion is no panacea. Brain health recovery takes several types of approaches, including medical along with art and religion.
Scientists are beginning to look into how the brain functions when someone experiences awe and beauty. Renee Phillips, in "Art Enhances Brain Function and Well-Being," found on the website, The Healing Powers of Art and Artists, Sept. 2019, describes scientific research on brain activity involved with awe.
In one study conducted at University College in London, researchers found that when someone looks at a beautiful picture, the brain reacts similar to when one sees a loved one.
According to Phillips' article, the National Endowment for the Arts is calling for research into "the anatomy of our 'aha' moments." Artists and those funding them appear to recognize the value in a sermon title like the Rev. Tucker's.
For full disclosure, Rick McVicar, this blog's creator, is a former minister affiliated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Please feel free to comment and share on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.