I wrote the following while sitting in my booth at the First Lady’s Prairie Art Showcase in October.
I met a fellow artist and her husband, whose conversation I shared inspired me to put words to what I had not been able to before. It is rather personal, but plays a huge role in my work as a photographer and I want to share it with you.
Art & the Church
How do they merge?
In the church, art is acceptable in the form of music and video presentation. Bulletins featuring objects that relate to the pastor’s latest sermon series (ie, construction cones to represent the sermon on work), or landscape scenes with a Bible verse randomly chosen.
Where is the church in the art gallery? Where is the church supporting those who make their living by art? Do we take these people seriously?
There is much in the art world that is very dark. Often art is an expression of that which is within. When art is dark and that flows from an artist who feels very dark inside, what does that mean? Anger, depression, bitterness, rejection. They run rampant within the soul.
Where is the joy, celebration and light?
Have we become a society that is so focused on the troubles within that we miss the joy without?
Watching the sun rise as I drive through the Bad River breaks, the darkness giving way to vibrant colors in the sky bouncing off the clouds. The deep shadows in the valleys evaporating as the light climbs higher. The birds sing and soar in the rising sun.
Each day is a joy and must be celebrated. Each day is a gift. A gift given to us by God, the Almighty, the Creator of all things.
This summer I have forgotten the celebration.
I have been so focused on the darkness within, the deep sadness, the stress of my husband’s accident, the rejection and lack of support by those I needed to be there.
I have never experienced such deep sadness and despair as I have the past five months.
My husband and I have slowly taken one day at a time, doing what needs to be done that day, plodding on. I have been more discouraged than he. I have lost my sight. I have been engulfed in the deep shadows of night, crying out for Jesus to rescue me.
He never promised we wouldn’t experience pain, heartache, rejection.
He did promise He would never leave or forsake His followers.
For me, there isn’t a cute little sweet poem of Jesus carrying me, His footprints the only ones in the sand.
I see a deep gray valley, with dark gray colorless violent clouds in the sky and Jesus. He is carrying me, very slowly through the valley. The wind is violent. It’s cold and He trudges on. The footprint path is long and I can’t see ahead to see if there is any light in the sky, giving way to the sun and color again.
How does this find joy and celebration? How do I, as an artist, look for the beauty without when I feel such darkness within? Where is the church?
As of today, I don’t have the answers to any of these.
Though this summer has been filled with inner turmoil, I have tried to seek the beauty. To be out at sunrise to run and soak in the glory the Lord has given for that new day.
Though I often struggle in the night when thoughts run rampant, when I’m tired and the pain of rejection is easily remembered-the morning comes. And there’s joy in the morning.
My art is part of my relationship with the Triune God. While I’m out there, I feel close to Him as I run or hike, or pull over by the side of the road to capture the image I saw while driving.
Without art, I don’t know where I would be. Perhaps lost in the darkness with no reason to celebrate.
The church must see this. The church must be instrumental in celebrating the beauty that God has created, beauty visible right now.
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Your post put two and two together with what I have been seeing from Clarice on Facebook. It is a lot to deal with. One thing I have discovered is Bible Journaling. Many people are finding that it is another way to add art into worship.