Our trip to Baltimore took us to another wonderful art museum, The Walters Art Museum. Where the Baltimore Museum of Art yielded more contemporary art, the work at the Walters felt more historical. This was a journey back in time. As we viewed the various galleries, I was amazed at how much I saw the Bible brought to life. Many of the artifacts on the lower floors were from peoples and places mentioned in the Old Testament. It was fascinating.
When we arrived on the third floor though, the focus changed. The doors of the elevator opened to reveal a life-sized sculpture of Christ on the cross, surrounded by a magnificently painted altar piece portraying Christ’s passion. Most of the work on this floor was from the church, depicting saints and biblical scenes. This should be no surprise, there was a period in history where the primary patron of the arts was the Church.
This piece was among my favorites. It’s another altar piece. At one point this mammoth sculpture/carving adorned the front of a church in France. It’s intricately carved and depicts the various scenes of Christ’s last days on earth, His arrest, trial, death, burial and resurrection. In a time where most of the population was illiterate, pieces of art like this helped people to see and understand the story. This art, these pictures tell the illustrated story of Jesus and pointed people to their creator.
And that’s when it hit me. This is still our calling as believing creatives. Oh our society is very literate and highly educated, but we’ve drifted from the Gospel, our minds clouded by a plethora of other information. Maybe we need to go back to go forward-back to a time where artists illustrated the greatest truths for the world to see. I believe we’re called to use these gifts we’ve been given to point people to the Truth that will set them free.
I’m not saying we need to make pictures of Jesus or write books (or plays, or music) about Jesus. I’m saying, as believing creatives we need to submit our gifts to the will of the Father, seek Him in prayer, follow His Spirit and do the work He created us to do. Maybe we were born and gifted for such a time as this, to use these “whatever gifts” to spread the Gospel to the end of the earth.
I believe it is time for the church to get creative and to support it’s creatives. To become a patron and supporter of the arts again. To minister to creatives and to empower creatives to do the work the Lord is calling them to do, not just on Sunday morning, but all week long, not just in the Church but in the world beyond, utilizing the arts in the life of the church and in the marketplace to the glory of God.
What would happen if the Church got creative? The answer lies in the heart of God, but I believe it will be spectacular.
Who’s with me?