Advent Devotional 12/14: A Place for Artists
On Sundays, we gather not just for fellowship, but for worship and proclamation. In worship, we celebrate and glorify Jesus Christ. In proclamation, we tell the world about him. For both worship and proclamation, the arts are essential.
Art is the native language of worship. It is everywhere in Scripture. The Temple was a work of art in architecture. The Psalms were poetry set to music. The priests were dressed beautifully in the sartorial arts. Even Jesus used the art of storytelling whenever he preached. The church at times in history used visual arts to communicate God’s word to an illiterate public. Some of the greatest works of art ever produced, from Handel’s Messiah to Michelangelo’s David, glorified God and communicated the Scriptures.
In proclaiming Christ to a secular, Scripturally illiterate culture, art is more important than ever. Art transcends barriers of culture, ideology and language. It honestly expresses emotions, ideas and truth with beauty, intensity and skill. Art communicates the timeless message of Jesus in fresh ways. Art engages the whole person and allows us to experience the truth of Jesus Christ and to express the deepest impulses of worship.
I believe God is raising up Kardia to be a place for artists. As the Holy Spirit works powerfully in our community, I believe God will awaken and inspire art that glorifies him and communicates Christ to the world. New songs, visual arts, dance, technological art, stories and other creative expressions will come out of our congregation to the glory of God.
John Adams, our nation’s second president, had this insightful perspective on art.
“I must study politics and war, that our sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. Our sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history and naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry and porcelain.”*
We’re building an infrastructure at Kardia so that we can exalt God to the highest through worship. The finale to the book of Psalms is a call to employ the arts to praise the Lord.
“Praise the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens. Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness. Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him with timbrel and dancing, praise him with the strings and pipe, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.” (Psalm 150:1–6, NIV)
God of all creation, you have made us in your image. You created us for your glory. You made us fearfully and wonderfully. You invented beauty. Even nature proclaims your praise. You placed a longing for beauty in each of our hearts. That longing responds to the beauty of who you are with art in song and dance every other beautiful expression.
We pray that you would awaken creative worship in our congregation. We pray against idolatry that would cause us to glorify the works of our hands. Instead, let the works of our hands glorify you. Over the course of the next year, teach us to be ever more honest and courageous in our worship and proclamation. Raise up a people for your praise! And may the name of Jesus Christ become more famous in the world through Kardia Church.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.