By Jenny Fulton
My Writing Prayer: “Dear Lord, please guide me, direct me, reveal Your heart to me. Show me what I should turn my attention to. Let me hear Your thoughts. Help me communicate them in a way that will display Your truth, Your light, and Your love.”
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It begins with a connection. Deep within the human heart, two spiritual beings engage in conversation. There is a whisper, an idea. From this union comes a voice yearning to be expressed.
Through time and practice, this voice begins to take shape under the creator’s hand. Sometimes in the process, the work goes in a different direction than was originally envisioned. Maybe this shift is due to the skill or inexperience of the artist, maybe it’s due to the type of material and its capabilities. Perhaps circumstances changed or new knowledge and inspiration was gained. Through it all, the voice of the work pushes on.
Finally, the piece is finished. Within the work resides the heart of its creator – some attribute of who they are and what their connection is with that other spirit. The voice is now ready to speak to those who view it.
For some creatives, that initial connection is made with the Holy Spirit. As our spirit connects with the Spirit of God, He whispers to us and we respond. We create in the context of our relationship with Him and who He is shaping us to be. We work out of our loves and life experiences. Our heart, mind, and soul pour out through our bodies into the physical art we are fashioning. Writers, Painters, Photographers, Dancers, Choreographers, Musicians, Vocalists, Designers… – we turn ourselves inside out and lay bare our inner being for all to see.
But the connection to God doesn’t end with the finished product.
A work has been going on within the viewers as well. Long before they come into contact with the art, they have been undergoing their own experiences; they possess their own needs, spiritual desires, and spiritual connections.
And then they connect. As the viewer engages with the work of art, his/her spirit connects to the spirit of the artist. The mind and emotions open and respond to the voice. If the artist was connecting to God in the creative process, then the observers finds themselves connecting to God as well. Regardless of whether or not the work has an overtly Christian message, if the spirit of the artist was connected to Christ, then the work resonates with the spirit of Christ. Through this avenue, the Holy Spirit reaches out and invites others to enter into the presence of God. Sometimes, the spirit of the viewer is open and accepts the invitations. Other times, the viewer’s spirit rejects God and, by extension, the art and artist as well.
This is not to say that personal preferences don’t play a large part in people’s like or dislike of a finished piece, but to say that there is a deeper connection than that of simple like or dislike. You may not like a particular genre of art or care for a specific manifestation of it, but still be able to appreciate the work of God that is displayed through it.
Personal Experience through Writing
Several years ago, God opened doors for me to write a youth fantasy novel in collaboration with a vision He had placed within the heart of a young man. This book was to have no direct mention of God or any other overtly Christian language. Instead, it pointed to the truths and character of God through the language of fantasy. Earlier this year I had the immense honor of hearing how one young woman responded to God through reading this book. Her spirit reached out, connected to the Spirit of God, and said yes to following His leading.
Connections through Painting
On her website https://commontreasures.wordpress.com/, Chelsea Litfin, an art graduate from Emporia State University, explains, “The content of my work often centers around the idea of the inner being. I’m especially interested in the idea of the soul in relation to God and the various expressions of personality.”
The reactions this artist of the light had from teachers and peers at her secular university was varied. Some teachers encouraged her Biblically-based direction, some were noncommittal in their response, and at least 1 tried to coerce her into pursuing more worldly and fleshly themes. Each group looked at the same physical work. Their different responses were a direct result of the state of their heart and spiritual connection.
*Local, Limited-time Opportunity for those in Albuquerque, NM
For a little over a week, from Friday, November 22 through Tuesday, December 3, those in the Albuquerque, NM area have the opportunity to attend the Art at the Abbey art show at Santa Maria de la Vid Abbey. This exhibition, themed “What is Holiness?” will display contributions from over 60 artists and community groups.
What About You?
When, where, and how have you connected to God through the arts?
Where have you seen others respond to God’s spirit through observing or participating in artistic endeavors?
*Cover picture painted by Chelsea Litfin. See more of her work at https://commontreasures.wordpress.com/ .
This “we turn ourselves inside out and lay bare our inner being for all to see” is SO true! And that as Christian artists, we hope to turn eyes to our God through our work. (Even if many won’t “get it”.) It’s so awesome that through the work of the fantasy novel you stole a heart to Christ. That makes the work worth everything, even just that one person.
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