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Monday, August 13, 2012

The Art of Worship

Please welcome guest blogger Julie Farmer. Julie is on staff with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and shares her perspective with us on use visual art as a medium for reaching across divides in worship (all images are hers):

Art is integral to how I worship God and how I understand His master plan to draw all peoples to Himself. Creating and appreciating art leads me to profound awe and fear as I consider the power, majesty, and wonder of the Creator of All. I am humbled at how insignificant my art is compared to any one of God’s creations.

Have you ever considered the intricacies of the human body—the relationship of body parts to organs to the ability to think, feel, speak, and act? Or acknowledged the beauty that a nursing mother is able to produce milk that has just the right fat, protein, and nutrient balance for her child?

Have you ever considered the miracle of a tiny seed growing to be a delicious fruit or vegetable that brings nourishment and enjoyment to your taste buds? Or been awe struck by the beauty of a single flower, only to imagine the countless flower variations?

Art transcends cultures, ethnicities, time periods, and gender, while also representing and expressing each of these things distinctly and uniquely. Art came into being when God created—shedding His glory and majesty on the earth. Art embodies all beauty and provides healing.

Art communicates in the gaps when words are just not enough. The visual arts are a nuanced way for me to dialogue about God’s heart for justice while also worshiping the Creator who gave me the ability to create visual art alongside Him. Throughout the Old Testament, the value of art is clear. Consider the intricate details of the Temple or how it was the trumpet players who led the procession around the walls of Jericho.

I’ve created specific pieces of art to address the atrocities of injustice in various cultures and seen people be moved by my art from complacency and ignorance to passion to see justice on earth as it is in Heaven. I love how visual art engages a viewer often before the viewer realizes the topic of the piece. Once engaged, it is hard to ignore the emotions stirred by the image one is looking at.

The artist worships God when his or her art points to His character, His salvation, His healing, and His value for all His people. Visual art is not just reserved for those who are natural artists. God is a visual and creative God who has made each of His people in His image and likeness. As image bearers of the divine, we are called to reflect Him as we worship Him.

Ponder a photograph or piece of art. Take your camera on a scavenger hunt to see where you can find God’s beauty represented. Try painting or make a collage with your favorite colors and news article. Ask God to show you Himself and pray for His redemption and justice to be had. Look for opportunities to stand for justice through the creation of new life in art.

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By Their Strange Fruit by Katelin H is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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