You paint. You draw. Your a graphic artist. You do photography. You sculpt. You write. You do drama. You dance. You sing. You compose music. You record. You play the bass… the guitar…. piano…. drums…. french horn….
You are talented. You are creative. What if there was more to it? What if you possess these abilities for a greater purpose?
Communication is essential to humans. We cannot survive without it; it is one of the greatest distinctions between humans and animals, and it is also the main factor separating people groups. Art is a language.
Communication is also essential to the character of God. He has communicated to us though His word, the Bible. He communicates to us through His Spirit, and He has communicated love to us by sending Jesus to meet us on earth, sacrificing Himself in our place so we can live eternally. He communicates through His Spirit, other people, and creation. Whether you are very aware and intimate with God speaking to you, or you are completely unaware, skeptical such communication is happening, or somewhere in-between, He is still directly speaking to your heart, “knocking at your heart’s door.”
We have a chance to communicate with God. How do we respond to God? Our art is a form of expression, a form of communicating with God. It can be a type of prayer, as prayer is simply talking with God. He understands what you are saying, even when you do not have the perfect words, or no words to do so. Expression is what this group is all about. Webster defines Expressionism as:
“n. A theory or practice in art of seeking to depict the subjective emotions and responses that objects and events arouse in the artist.”
This does not mean we should create in the form of the expressionist movement of the 1900’s (a distinctive artistic style), but in this group we mean communicating what you are feeling to God. Whether you are very creative and artistic, or you are just experimenting, God sees through your works to the depth of your heart. This is an opportunity to seek God; an opportunity to connect with Him. Even if your not too sure you want to “connect” with God, acknowledging and being open to Him can be a good place to start.
What if it was really not about us? Lets take this concept of expression a step further:
Do you think God gave you the gift of art, in whatever form or fashion, just for yourself? What you communicate to God can drastically help other people do the same. How many times have you heard that song on the radio that finally put into words what you were feeling? Seen a photograph which has finally portrayed life as it is? Drank of a poem which brought you understanding? Imagined yourself in a painting which brought you peace? God desires that we use what He blessed us with to bless others (following the example of Abraham, our “spiritual father” in Gen. 12). The expressions of our heart might be the very things someone else, despite background or belief, might need to connect with God. It can be the avenue people are looking for which they could have never found (made) themselves. We can use it in church, we can use it in the community. Possibilities are endless. We can get beyond ourselves with our talents to bless others.
Lets take it just one more step deeper….
If you already know God, Do you think He gave your craft(s) or creativity so you could make a name for yourself? This question leads us to the greatest way we can use our gift of creativity. We have the potential to praise and worship God through our art. God’s greatest purpose is to bring Himself glory, basically, fame. This isn’t because He is selfish. It is because He is deserving of this in a way our minds cannot understand. Throughout the Bible, we can see that He brings Himself fame mainly through bringing people back into relationship with Him in His sincere love and grace, and also conquering evil. These both make Him look good and bring Him praise. His creation, God’s own personal works of art, bring Him fame also (Romans 1). Instead of making a name for ourselves with our art, we can make God “famous” by our artistic expressions. Art can show beauty and mystery, both which are characteristics of God found in the Bible. It can be used to respond to Him and His goodness and greatness. One definition of worship is “to exchange love with God; responding to who He is and what He does.” It is common for people to think of worship as just music, or a weekly church service. Biblically, Worship is responding to God in thankfulness, love and deep awe (fear). This should be done in our lifestyle, obedience to God, to the extent even as “a living sacrifice….pleasing to God (Romans 12:1).” It also can be in music, (often with body movements accompanying, like dance), which is the most common way in the Bible, with more than a hundred examples. One of the first occupations in the Bible was a musician, right along with agriculture, livestock, and industry (Gen. 4:21).” But worshiping God is not limited to stringed instruments, percussion, song writing (poetry), and singing. Many people worshiped God through dance, an example being David’s dance in 2 Sam. 6. Drama is found in the Bible to express God’s word. Even a play backdrop was drawn to help (Ezek. 4). In Exodus (31 and 35) God specifically gave people the ability to design artistic works for creating the tabernacle (the center for worshiping God before Jesus came). These were generally visual arts, like sculpting, engraving, carving, tapestry making and even fashion designing. These and others were also used for creating the Temple (the later and more permanent version of the tabernacle). If other visual arts like photography and graphic design were around, I have no doubt they would be on the list too. A Biblical judgment on an evil people was to devoid the people of the richness of the arts, both musicians and “the craftsmen of any craft (Rev. 18:22).” This shows that God is very aware of the life art brings to humanity; it surely must bless Him. Lets use our creativity (or even lack thereof) to bring glory to God.
Compiled by Elisa Johnston, examples derived with the help of “The Heart of the Artist,” and of course the Bible.