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Seeing God by Marcie Handrich

My love for poetry, story, and music extends as far back as I can remember. I continue to be inspired and moved through these art forms, but I’ve also been engaged throughout my life by the power of visual arts. I still possess a painting, a crudely crafted face, that I created in first grade. 

Our God placed a high priority on beauty and creativity in the creation of our world. I have been moved to worship God as I’ve strolled through a colorful garden, peered down from my window seat on the vastness of the ocean or the majesty of the mountains, witnessed a brilliant rainbow after a storm, or sat on the beach to view the sun rising or setting over sparkling water. God’s use of shapes, colors, and shading was intentional. David, the shepherd, was inspired to worship while gazing up at stars twinkling against an expansive black canvas. So profound was his experience that he opened Psalm 19 with the words, “The heavens declare the glory of God.” All that God has designed points back to our Creator God.

Scripture is filled with stories of experiences enhanced by powerful visual effects. Vivid imagery such as burning bushes, pillars of fire, a dove descending from heaven, loaves and fishes, a withered fig tree, and a tiny mustard seed growing into an immense tree serve to draw us into the story.

I’ve also experienced a profound sense of the sacred while standing in a beautiful European cathedral or gazing on the mastery of Rembrandt’s The Return of the Prodigal Son and Descent from the Cross at the Hermitage. 

Though I’m fully aware that I do not possess such mastery, I believe that we’re born with imaginative hearts and minds, a reflection of our creative God.

Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up ~ Pablo Picasso

Humans have always created images to communicate with each other. Author, Jean E. Jones says that "Scripture adorned doorposts and gates, providing teaching opportunities. But where the visual arts really stood out was at the temple. There, wood carvings, gold inlays, intricate embroidery, and bronze statues reminded worshipers that this was the temple of the Creator of all in heaven and earth. [God] was holy and they drew near [God] through sacrifice. The artistry reminded people who God was so they could worship appropriately." (See full quote here).

The desire to enhance worship has driven the Arts and Environment team to create the Liturgical Art installation on the altar for this Lenten season. Symbols have been carefully chosen to hopefully draw us more fully into the process of transformation throughout the Cultivate Soul sermon series. I have been enriched by the collaborative process of our creative team. The resulting display is our offering. I invite you to visit the installation and infuse it with meaning for your own Lenten journey. May we all cultivate the fruit of the Spirit along the way.

 

If you are interested in serving on the Arts & Environment Team, please contact Marcie Handrich.

 

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