In the recent HopeArts blog post entitled, “Why do we even have an Arts Ministry,” I contended that Art, by its very nature, is redemptive, recasting our human suffering in the light of the beauty and worth to which we are redeemed in Christ. With such being the case, it therefore remains an inescapable facet and dynamic of spiritual healing of members within a church for there to be an Arts Ministry.
As healing is a process, and as Art plays a role, we might wonder how we as a community partner with the Arts Ministry in the processes of redeeming and healing. And, ultimately, this goes to questioning our very cultural mindset of passive receiver and consumer.
Every work of Art - every poem, every painting, every film, every dance, every musical score, every sculpture, etcetera - engages the whole community in redeeming individual notions and experiences with a beauty both inherent to humanity and possible within humanity’s re-creation in Christ. It is not just that I see a beauty, say, in a suffering like my own, but that I see how we all share that same beauty and that same suffering. So, Art immediately “de-isolates” us, and what is more, it fixes us firmly within something beyond ourselves, and out of the narrow, tunnel-visioned view brought on by suffering.
Thus it is our individual stories become beacons, expressions of hope: they (our stories) contribute to marking out the expansiveness of Beauty, and beauty’s ability to cover over, pervade through all of Life and human experience. Just as God’s face hovered over the waters when the earth was formless and void, so to His Beauty hovers over the expanses of individual lives. Christ’s sacrifice is worth every single story that can reveal His beauty (and ours) -- but all the stories combined do not equal the worth of His Beauty. Art is the music to the words of our lives, coalescing into the new song which is and is to be sung for (and unto) Him for the rest of Eternity.
Each life, each story then, is not a retelling, but a telling a little bit more of the grand meta-narrative, the beauty of which we all share. To not engage in and with Art, then, is to not tell our story; to not tell our stories is to deny that about which Art speaks.
So what does this look like, specifically, boots on the ground?
Well, this is what a good Arts Ministry facilitates. In general it means artists “keeping Story” for the community, and the community contributing their stories. This means, in the very least, interaction, partnership, supping and relationship. And all that means another blog post.