The Art of Worship
by Susanne Dietze
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.” Romans 12:1
“We played a flute for you, and you did not dance…” Matthew 11:17
Wednesday afternoon, it rained—really rained—at my house. It’s been so long since we’ve had a good downpour that I curled up in the chair by the back window to watch the shower. After a while, the clouds parted and shafts of sunshine pierced through.
My daughter ran out of her bedroom, camera in hand. “I bet there’s a rainbow!”
|Courtesy of the author's daughter|
So we all went outside. And there it was, gorgeous and vivid…God’s handiwork. A reminder of His care, His presence, and His creativity. God is a God who loves beauty.
It’s pretty amazing to think that God granted us the ability to not only enjoy His creation, but to create our own handiwork, too. To be artists.
Art: the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance. --Dictionary.com
Some people I know use the phrase “Christian art” to distinguish something God-inspired or glorifying, as opposed to “regular art.” Paintings of Biblical scenes versus Monet. The Pieta as opposed to The Thinker. Veggie Tales versus Toy Story 3.
I might argue that there’s just Art--the ability to create and appreciate thoughtful, emotional, or spiritual expressions. Our ability to make and be affected by art is a gift bestowed by our Creator. Sometimes our art glorifies God; sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes the line between those two is wide open to individual interpretation.
But I believe the Bible is clear on this point: God wants us to worship Him with our whole selves—hands, brains, and bodies; our words, song, and dance; our gifts, skills, and hobbies. If our art, our “expression…of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance,” is inspired by and glorifies God, then we shouldn’t waste our artistic gifts. We should get up and use them.
This week we’ve been celebrating our own Dina Sleiman and her debut novel, Dance of the Dandelion. One of many things I like about Dina is how openly she embraces the creativity and artistic skill God’s given her, and how she uses them to glorify her Lord. Dina uses art to worship God, with words and her body.
The Bible is full of artistic expressions of worship. Dance (2 Sam 6:14). Poetry (Song of Solomon, to name one). Singing and music (too many Psalms to list). Craftsmanship (the bronze temple gate called Beautiful in Acts 3:2—can you imagine how gorgeous it must have appeared to earn a name like that?).
The same holds true today. Scrapbooking, playing bass guitar, crafting stained glass, sculpting, woodworking, decorating cakes, sewing, writing screenplays, acting…all can be used as mediums to worship God. All can bring Him glory.
And we can all appreciate art, be challenged by it, blessed by it, moved by it. During this Week of Dina, I’ve been reminded to be on the lookout for artistic expressions that challenge or inspire me in my relationship with God.
To that end, I have an exercise for us today!
Below is a video for the song “SMS [Shine]” by David Crowder*Band, a Christian rock group. And I think of this video as art.
This video got my artsy juices flowing. It got me thinking about my relationship with God and my family (more on that in the comment section later). I found the concept intriguing and the medium (Lite Brite pegs) surprising. I also found myself thinking about it long after it ended. It expresses something “of more than ordinary significance.”
Watch it if you like, and then I’d love to discuss it with you. My questions follow the video:
Now for our art discussion!
*What do you think the plant symbolizes?
*What do you think is the relationship between the Lite Brite world and the “real people” world?
*Has participating in art (either creating or appreciating) inspired you to worship or taught you something about God?
I’ll share my answers in the comments.
And don’t forget to enter the drawing for Dance of the Dandelion. Leave a comment today and include your email address. Drawing will be held at the end of the blog day, tonight, October 9th.
Susanne Dietze has written love stories set in the nineteenth century since she was in high school, casting her friends in the starring roles. Today, she writes in the hope that her historical romances will encourage and entertain others to the glory of God. Married to a pastor and the mom of two, Susanne loves fancy-schmancy tea parties, travel, and spending time with family and friends. Her work has finaled in the 2010 Genesis Contest, the 2009 Gotcha! Contest, and the Touched By Love Contest, 2008 and 2009. You can visit her on her personal blog, Tea and a Good Book, http://www.susannedietze.blogspot.com/.