Arvella Schuller, the wife of the Rev. Robert H. Schuller who helped found the Crystal Cathedral Ministries passed away on Tuesday, February 11th. Her passing has evoked fond memories for those of us whose lives she touched. The imprint that she made upon my life came in the early days of the twenty years that I served at the Crystal Cathedral.
Upon graduating from USC I followed my heart to develop a "Dance Ministry," which found its purpose within the unique ministries of the Crystal Cathedral. To learn more about the purpose for dance in the Scriptures I entered Fuller Theological Seminary. Yet, the prime lesson that I learned was gained at a Women's Ministry event from a lecture by Arvella Schuller.
In her lecture entitled, Worship: The Inspirational Hour, Mrs. Schuller spoke passionately on how the purpose of art was found in the priority of praise. This passion, was exemplified through her artistic endeavors on the "Hour of Power" television ministry, as well as the children's and Glories ministries. Her passion embodied the words of Martin Luther who wrote that..."all the arts, especially music should be used in the service of Him who gave and made them."
Arvella's love for the arts was an extension of her love for the Lord. With the "priority of praise," at the heart of her Christian faith, the Lord honored her work as she sought to honor His Word. Praising the Lord is a thread that weaves itself throughout the longest book in the Bible, the book of Psalms. The Hebrew title for the book of Psalms, "Praises," accurately summaries its collection of beautifully expressed poems and hymns.
The priority of praising the Lord through the arts, also gave life to an international ministry that was distinctively positive, as Arvella sought to support Dr. Schuller's message of hope. Together they modeled the meaning behind the words of C.S. Lewis who wrote, "I think that we need more; the joy and delight in God which meet us in the Psalms."
While I have cleared out much from my files on the Crystal Cathedral, I cherish the hand written notes from Arvella's lecture; Worship: The Inspirational Hour. They serve as a passage in my own Christian faith. Arvella Schuller not only modeled faith in Christ, but ignited mine through the timeless words of Psalms 149:3, "Let us Praise the Lord with Dancing."
The glorious gift of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is eternal life. In the passing of a Christian, the inspirational hour becomes the eternal hour. Heaven's angels are not airborne by the theatrical company, "Flying by Foy," but rather sustained by the God who created them. And the inspiring music of the Hour of Power choir is but a foretaste of heaven's glory.
The purpose for art, and priority of praise, find their greatest culmination in the majestic music of Revelations 5:12, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing."
Dorie Mattson served as the Director of Dance for the Crystal Cathedral Ministries for 20 years. The first person to play Angel Gabriel in their holiday spectacle, The Glory of Christmas, she also served in the dual roles of assistant director and choreographer for the Glories ministries. A college instructor, Dorie is also a graduate student at the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology.