Creativity and the Arts

24 May 2018

‘When we awaken to beauty, we become aware of new ways of being in the world.’

By beauty I do not mean the pretty, the pleasing, the easy to understand, the mindless and naive, but beauty, I believe is the nature of God, that can be found, discovered, and even surprise us in the midst of our everyday lives, even in the most difficult and harshest of situations.

Beauty is the divine breath of love and grace that touches our hearts with a thread of gold.

It brings hope, life, aspiration, joy, gentleness, peace and goodness.

It brings a taste and a touch of our Creator’s heart so that when we encounter beauty, be that in music, art, poetry, nature, science, the embrace of friends or family, or in the kindness of a stranger in a moment of terror and devastation, we encounter God.

Simone Weil in ‘Waiting on God’ writes, “The beauty of the world is Christ’s tender smile for us coming through matter. He is really present in the universal beauty. The love of this beauty proceeds from God dwelling in our souls and goes out to God present in the universe. It is like a sacrament.”

In the visual arts this beauty is portrayed in a multitude of ways as it is in music, theatre, dance and poetry etc. When we make art, be that paintings, sculpture, music, poetry, prose, dance etc it is our calling not just to see things as they are, but to see things as we are. Through the eyes of Christ. What does He see when he looks upon a vulnerable and broken soul, we need to put on the mind of Christ and see His reality, His truth and not view life only through the eyes and ears of fear and anxiety.

To live in this way, is for me the call of all artists, in fact all people for I believe each and every one of us is creative as we were made in the image of a creator God, but for those of us who have discovered and practised our creativity. It is our duty not to live life dualistically, separating the spiritual from the material world, but we are to create beauty, to create liminal spaces, places where others are encouraged to pause, to think, reflect, question life safely, to make their journey from the head to the heart and to encounter the God who dwells within them as well as without.

We are to use our eyes to not just look quickly at the world around us but to really see, to take time to notice where the eternal is present and at work in the everyday. We should then draw others attention to the minutiae of life, things that others wouldn’t notice because they are always in a rush and don’t have the time or the inclination to look and see the truth that is hidden within our lives. When we begin to see life in this way, it not only enlarges our vision of the world but it encourages others to step out of our small mindedness, and to look towards a greater vision, an eternal vision. It offers, hope, transformation, healing, restoration. All those words that we read in the bible but so often find it hard to see in the present. As creatives we are to be like the Israelite spies in the desert, bringing back fruit from the promised land to be tasted in advance. We are to tell the story of the promised land that is hidden amongst us so that people can taste it, hear it, see it, and want it, even while we acknowledge the reality of the desert in which we presently live.

The arts give us an alternative language with which to share Gods love, instead of the words that have been spoken and repeated so often that society no longer listens to them. We have an opportunity to engage with the world through all of the senses, sight, sound, taste, touch, smell; languages of the heart that speak to our emotions, a universal language that crosses all cultural and age-related boundaries.

Lesley Sutton Gather Global, UK

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