I’ve got a few ideas for posts swirling around my head in their usual disorganized states of confusion. I’ve even written a rough draft for one in particular that I just need to research a bit more and tweak here and there. But until then, I came across a passage in one of the books I’m reading that beautifully reflected the heart of an artist who has chosen to follow Christ. “The God Who Smokes: Scandalous Meditations of Faith”(1) by Timothy Stoner (yes, that’s his real name) has served as a much needed reminder that the God of Mercy is also the God of Wrath. May I never forget that!
Anyway, the following passage reminded me of my dear friend and fellow believer Christine. So this is for you:
The artist who follows Jesus explicitly resides in the world and participates in culture in a truly unique way. She helps others pay attention to, take notice of, and celebrate the goodness of the good creation. She does not shy away from the dark and the broken, the sorrow and terror–but crafts it in such a way as to point toward hope. It is revealing a pathway out of despair and chaotic meaningless. Her work is a candle that flickers and flares.
Her art is for the good of the world.
She does it for the blessing of the world.
She is intent not on reinforcing the curse but breaking it. She has and is a gift. She is sent, like Jesus, to open the eyes of the blind, open the ears of the deaf, or give words to the mute. She is sent on a mission of freedom. Her mission mirrors that of her Savior. She is sent to break chains of despair, set at liberty those tied up with cords of emptiness, futility, and death, and bring sight to those who have lost the capacity to see. She is sent to give us the forgotten vision of the glory that peeks out behind the bush and branch and sea and life as it was meant to be. She sings and shrieks and falls to rise again, to give voice to what we’ve forgotten or refuse to hear.
She pours out her blood that a world may be saved.
She serves not always willingly or well but in her best moments, when she has forgotten herself, she serves.
Still, her loyalty is not here. She has had her idolatrous attachment broken. She is free to be in but not of . She is not slavishly loyal to the patterns, the values, the demands, and commands of a world in love with itself. Her eyes look up even as she looks out, and in looking around she sees through. She is not bewitched by appearances nor overly and permanently distraught. She has seen a city whose builder and maker is God, and she pines for the day when it will come here so there will be light forever.
And the light will be the love and the joy of her life.
She has this secret. Her heart has been captured by a lover who is out of this world. But He is coming back. She wants to make herself ready and her friends and ever her enemies , too. So she does her work as best she can and prays that it is good, that it will shine so brightly as to bring glory not to her but to Him.
Thank you, Christine. For recognizing the darkness and the light in my heart. And inspiring me towards greater works of art for His Glory.
(1) Stoner, Timothy.
The God who smokes: scandalous meditations of faith
published by Navpress, 2008