|Art at a favorite coffeehouse near campus.|
Recently I was looking through an issue of the beautiful magazine called Bella Grace, admiring the prose and the poetry and the photography. Thinking about the prompts throughout which are provided for one's own journaling. Embracing the subject of Art and Beauty in everyday life.
But I noticed a pattern as I read through some of the articles and I checked the biographies of the writers. Yes... many of these writers embraced a more "spiritual" or "New Age" way of thinking about life. It made me sad in a way.
How often I have noticed this through the years. Oh, I know there are Christians who make beautiful Art but one must admit... there is not a whole lot available in the realm of magazines, popular music, art galleries, etc. which represent Art created by one who walks with the Holy Spirit of the Risen Lord taking up residence.
If anything, we who were bought and paid for with a Price so amazing should be the most creative of peoples. He who created the entire Universe lives within us. He leads us and guides us and has given us His Book, the only real How To Guide to Living.
I suppose my surprise... which began in my early walk of Faith... has stayed with me because I didn't grow up attending church. Perhaps because my early mentors of the Faith were the Schaeffer's books and they wrote a lot about art and music and design and such. I don't know, it could just be my own more creative makeup that causes me to notice the lack thereof in general society.
As I was pondering how few Christians are known for their art today, I thought of the song Larry Norman sang back in the 70s which rocked the then Christian music world. That song? Why Should the Devil Get All the Good Music?
While there is nothing like the theology of music to cause arguments amongst the brethren and split entire churches, one has to realize what artists such as Larry Norman and Keith Green were trying to get through to the entire church at the time. Art is the language of the soul to the generations... and society was going through a quantum leap of changing at that time.
It is rather amusing that the generation of the Jesus Movement is now the generation of the church in their 60s and older. Those of us with gray hair and grandchildren. I wonder how many of us retained the wonder of those early days walking with Christ? How many of us continued to make Art as we lived each day throughout these past decades.
Judging from the state of the Church today... I'd say few of us. We let Life get to us. A quote my husband loves from the movie Hook is, "Peter, you've become a Pirate!". Should you never have seen the movie (a favorite in this home), Peter Pan is now an accountant and has no humor whatsoever. The film is about how that all changes. ;)
But really... have we who started out with such fresh love for the Lord... with Art in our hearts... with the longing to share the Truth of His Love and His Beauty to the entire world... have we become Pirates just like the middle aged Peter Pan?
Let's face it, life is hard. But it is hard for everyone. What is it about so many Christians that we stopped bringing Beauty to our world in His Name. Could it be that... unlike those before us in the Renaissance... we did not equate our love for God with Beauty?
That there is something less spiritual about living a life that incorporates making things beautiful? Is that why those who are honestly hungering for spiritual Truth turn their back on the Church and embrace New Age nonsense? I found it very attractive before He led me into all Truth through salvation in Christ.
There are those of us who love making our life a work of Art. Simply. Within the realm of our families and friends. Never perfectly. But as the Master Artists of old did... all to the Glory of God.
Soli Deo gloria!
When we take the time to set an attractive table and serve food which we have put some thought into as to color and texture as well as nutrients, we are sharing God's Art. When we pick flowers and put them into a vase on the kitchen table, we make Art. When we choose beautiful music as a background to a party, we make Art.
When we journal with words and paper and paints and colored pencils... whatever our chosen medium... we make Art. Whether just for our own enjoyment or perhaps someday to pass down to a loved one.
When we pick up our pen or sit in front of the screen and write about life lived the best we can given all the challenges of today's world... we make Art.
What we do does not have to have a Scripture verse stamped on it to be "Christian".
When we invite friends over for a lovely meal, we don't have to give a sermonette for it to be "Christian". Neither do we have to wear a cross when we put thought into our getting dressed for the day to look "Christian" (albeit I do have a favorite cross to wear).
What makes our Art Christian? Our walk with the Lord. What we do and we say in our everyday life. For often all we can give to Him is our Attitude. But when we treat people with love and compassion and grace... even when it is not deserved at times... then our Art will show that we belong to Him.
When we tell the hurting friend we are praying for them (and we really do), when we take a loaf of homemade bread to the lonely elderly person and tell them we are praying for them (and we really do), when our attitude has been one that brings Glory to God without ever giving a sermon... they will know Who is behind our Art.
What can you do this week to bring His Beauty to the world? What our mothers and fathers and grandparents and generations before us have done as they planted gardens and put delicious food on the table and wrote a poem and cleaned their homes to make them attractive and wrote a letter and baked a pie and sewed the little dresses and knitted the sweaters and pieced the quilts and carved the wood and took the jug of cold lemonade to the neighborhood children.
Perhaps in this fallen of worlds, those of us who follow the Lord will never draw the world to us with the Art we make. But He calls individuals to come to Him and perhaps through the Beauty in our individual lives, we become someone He can use to show the world that giving one's heart to Him can make a person's life one of Beauty... no matter what life throws at us.
Because of Him. Not us. Never us for we are imperfect. He knows we are "made of dust". But with Him in us and through us... we live Beauty.
NOTE: Bella Grace is a fairly new magazine published by Stampington & Company. Most are only available where I live at Barnes & Noble, although Where Women Cook and Where Women Create can be found at some grocery stores now.