Todays Scriptures: Exodus 4:10 – 31, 1 Cor 14:1 – 19, Mark 9:30 – 41
I think we have an intrinsic desire for beauty. When I walk beside the river of south Saskatchewan and watch the sunrays play with melting ice. When I hear the sound of relief, of freedom from the birds in the sky, something inside of me connects with the beauty of nature. Feelings and memories erupts inside of me. It is amazing how we by our senses can connect with the world around us. The smell of freshly baked cinnamon buns in the morning. The sound of a thundering river. The sight of northern lights. The feeling of the breeze on the shore. The taste of freshly picked strawberries in early summer …
We have those experiences and the funny thing with humanity, really what makes us human, is that we sometimes try to depict those feelings and experiences. Some of us try to explain or share what we know to be good. So, art is born. All art is a description of a process that goes on the “outside” of a person or something that goes on “inside” of a person. Art is our effort to contribute to the creative process that goes on all the time in nature. Or rather, our desire to be a part of that very process. After all, our cells are being replaced by new ones all the time. We are not static, we are changing. The creative process goes on, every second.
I find the “best” artists to be people who invites you into a process. They take you on a journey. You discover places that you would not have seen if they did not invite you in. I personally feel that one of the best books ever written is the Lord of the Rings by Tolkien. I feel drawn to his method of using beauty, nature and mystery to describe feelings that all of us probably feel. We all have “a ring” that we need to get rid of. We all carry this dark ego that overshadows our ability to see the good things in life. Frodo is not chosen as a ring bearer because his physical abilities, or his infinite wisdom about the world. No, he is chosen because he has not yet been corrupted by the power of ego. He still sees the simple pleasures in life. He enjoys the beauty that nature offers. In many ways he is like a small child. As he continues on his journey to destroy the ring, he becomes aware of the weight of it. It is a hard thing to confront your sin or ego. Just as beauty is intrinsic to our being so it seems ego and sin is. We have this tension within us. This tension, this journey of Frodo and Sam is beautifully described by Tolkien. His depiction reminds us of things that happens within every one of us. If we have eyes to see. If we still can see beauty. If we are not over powered by our ego, our sin. It seems like our own “smart answer to how reality works” often blocks our ability to see beauty.
I believe art, our participation and observation of the for ever on going creative process, is one of the main “venues” to get to know our Creator. God created and creates the world as His artwork. The world is His display of beauty. He invites us to be a part of this journey called life. He is the great Artist. Now, can I “prove” this? That He is the Creator. No I can not. But the question is formulated in a twisted way. The question is not if I can prove Gods existence. The question is if I can prove my existence without Him? If I did not have this canvas of the world around me, would I be able to see my own color? If I listened to a song with one single tone, would I be able to hear a melody? If I listened to the creed of post humanism, that we are a result of pure randomness, the expression of random chemical occurences. That there are no reason at all for us being here. Where would that leave beauty? Where would that leave our ability to be creative? Where would that leave our feelings of feeling connected to a reality outside of our ego? Post – humanism, the attempt to define everything in physical terms and formula, the digitization of reality, leaves no room for creativity. It leaves no room for mystery. It leaves no room for beauty because beauty can not be tamed. And really, when you think about it, is not those very things, what makes life worth living. It is not the defined things in life, our stuff (house, car, boat whatever), that brings joy to our lives. No, it is how we use those things. How we share them with others.
I encourage you to look at the world with eyes of charity. Be apart of the creative process. Share the gifts of beauty you have received (because you are beautiful). Because if you do you will receive gifts of beauty. It’s a beautiful day (as U2 sang). It is not a coincidence that the mystery of this life is described in art and in nature because it only in those expressions that mystery becomes accessible to us.