We finally debuted our original Easter musical, As It Is Written. It was a journey almost two years in the making, filled with many challenges and lessons, but even more joys.
One the things I was most reminded of is the privilege I have to create and share art with our community. I believe strongly in the power of art — especially as it pertains to conveying aspects of God’s character.
There is a unique power and potential in stories. Aside from being entertaining, we can learn things from stories which we might not have gleaned otherwise. Stories have a unique way of touching our hearts. We can see ourselves in the stories we hear. We can be inspired by them, moved to improve aspects of our own humanity. We want love that lasts, we want good to triumph, we want adventure. Stories speak to the deepest human longings.
But there is a tension point here, isn’t there? You see, it can be fashionable in the art world to ignore faith, particularly a saving faith in Jesus Christ. Conversely, the opposite is often true too - in the Christian world, we sometimes reject art as a viable expression of our faith or understanding of God, and devalue secular movies and music because it is not “Christian.” But the world of art and faith are more intertwined than we think.
Art reveals to us the mysteries and beauty of God, of all life around us. There is something that art can reveal to us about God that study, science, and our left brain rationalism cannot.
In his book Art + Faith, Makoto Fujimura says, “Some things, of course, are best conveyed in a three-point sermon. But we would lose a great deal if we heard the Good News delivered only as linear, propositional information, for the gospel is a song.”
Jesus Himself knew the power and effect of telling stories. In Matthew 13:34-35 (MSG) we read,
“All Jesus did that day was tell stories—a long storytelling afternoon. His storytelling fulfilled the prophecy:
I will open my mouth and tell stories;
I will bring out into the open
things hidden since the world’s first day.”
Now, there is something to be said about being careful what you choose to enjoy artistically. I do think some things are unhelpful to partake in spiritually. But, it is more than possible to find God in artistic places; sometimes we discover Him there in ways we otherwise might not. God is all around us - and even the seeming absence of God in a piece of art, if we’re paying close enough attention, can point us closer to Him. The very fact that something was created is evidence of God the Creator Himself!
God can use anything to speak to us. The question is, are we listening?
What art has touched your soul?