First things first: read this. Then read what I have to say about an artist’s prayer.
Did you read it? Because it’s good and I’m not going to recap it.
What I love about both the idea and pursuit of an artist’s prayer is as follows:
- It recognizes the divine call & vocation of the artist.
- It recognizes that art, too, is anchored in God and His Creation.
- That we explore creation through our senses is a tremendous gift which, as Scripture repeatedly demonstrates, does elicit laud, honor, prayer, and thanksgiving! Of course Christian artists should experience that on a deep and ongoing level.
Art is, I would argue, shockingly concrete. It’s explicitly experienced by the senses, yet without being bound. It’s so human!
I suspect that one’s appreciation for art and artists in some way demonstrates whether we’ve thought about what art within creation is. Although it’s certainly a person’s project, perhaps achievement, it’s also more. Service, yes, beauty, yes, but do these words quite grasp at the blessed combination of elements God brings together into art in its various forms?
The metaphor that came into my head when I, predictably, wondered whether I could write a suitable artist’s prayer is this: art is like another type of bud and blossom within God’s creation, that highlights God’s creative work and His delight to share so much with man.
But when I tried to follow that train further, I got a little stalled. Why does God give us art? Is it to increase our focus? To awaken us in some way? At times probably. Perhaps also simply because there is so much good and beautiful. In this time of doubt, when so many people have succumbed to thinking everything meaningless, we Christians can recognize that, actually, meaning abounds!
Historically, the seven fine arts were (beautiful things like) painting, sculpture, architecture, (beautiful sounds like) music, poetry, (and beautiful movements and motions like) theater, and dance. Then, just as drawing fell within painting, literature came to classify prose with poetry.
The Lord has made all that we see, hear, taste, touch, and smell. He alone grants experience, appreciation, discernment, and true pleasure. Yet He allows man to share in giving these gifts—what a wonder! It should make us gasp!
While I won’t post an artist’s prayer, at least at this point, I will be thinking about it. 🙂 And I encourage you to do the same.
One Response to An Artist’s Prayer
“An Artist’s Prayer” is a great idea for reflection and comment, Mary–thank you! For a rather unorthodox but thought-provoking story of how faith and art blend–or clash!–in one’s life, Chaim Potok’s novel My Name is Asher Lev is a great read.