Path Words to the Holy: Art

GodReflection: Power Words

garyguarujaWe humans have one rather strange perception in common. We have a tendency to limit reality to life.

Whatever happens between the dashes on my grave marker tends to influence who I will be at the end of my life.

Bear with me. I am moving toward Art as a Pathway to the Holy.

Churches slip into believing the dash that begins at time of the current group organization is the first bookend to their reality. Sure, the claim is our church goes back to 33 A.D.

The truth is we who follow Jesus don’t have a lot of interest in what transpired between 33 A.D. and the now reality of our congregation of Believers.

I worship with a group of Christians who are careful to place 33 A.D. on a founding stone. We sprang from the rural southern states of the USA. The concerns of the art12Civil War, survival, and the poverty that followed the next decades didn’t leave much room for Art in homes or churches.

Somewhere between birth and my environment, I missed the Art gene.

My first encounter with the Arts was at Abilene Christian University in an Aesthetics class, a required course for graduation.

In college Aesthetics, I met composers Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, and Handel.

Artists, van Gogh, de Vince, Michelangelo, Rembrandt, and their colleagues of the centuries visited our classroom. (I didn’t meet any of these guys in the New Mexico desert.)

art8In the newly release book by Philip Yancey, Vanishing Grace—What Ever Happened To The Good News, he has a lengthy chapter on Artist. He explores the role the Arts played through the centuries to keep God’s good news before the church.

He quotes scholar N.T. Wright who says the arts are highways into the center of a reality, which cannot be glimpsed, let alone grasped, any other way.

art5On rare occasions, I’ve caught a glimpse of Art as a pathway to the Holy.

The Hallelujah of Handel’s Messiah is like a direct shot of God’s Glory into my soul. At each encounter it creates a pathway that draws my focus to God. It is Art put to music.

I can’t help but think of visits to the Dom Bosco Sanctuary in Brazil’s Federal Capital Brasilia. I always sit in reverent wonder art1as I attempt to take it in.

The worship center enclosed in 12 different shades of wall-to-wall blue stained glass leaves me awe stricken and defenseless against the Holy.

The designer Claudio Naves and the Belgian stained glass artist Huber Van Doorne created a worship structure nothing short of Art that cries out as a pathway to adulation.

Here is what I think.

Art isn’t one of my primary path words to the Holy. I am thankful for the rare times it aligns with my soul.

I need to recognize that God wires others with the Art gene who see Art as their primary means to sense His companionship. As a fellow believer, I am called to honor these Art lovers. They are God’s creation.

I would hope that the rest of us would allow them space within the family of God to follow their God-given wiring as they move along the holy pathway of His design.

I would even wish we would create opportunities for Art at various times when the church assembles. Wouldn’t that be an act of grace on my part out of consideration for these uniquely wired Believers?

Stay tuned.

Dr. Gary J. Sorrells – A GodReflection on Art as a Holy Word of Power.

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