Art is also the result of our human impulse to find expression for that something within us that responds to the stimuli surrounding us, crying out to be expressed, to find meaning in beauty, or terror, or sex, or something as mundane as food, and to reflect this in a form, a medium that produces a response – awe, excitement, disgust, wonder, even shock or anger – in those around us.
Art says something in a way that nothing else can, and the something that art says is so qualitatively different that it demands a radically different expression. Where linear, logical thinking may produce prose with a specific function – information or historical record or critical analysis or instruction – art selects and reflects on a small slice of human experience and lays it out there, a gift to anyone who is willing to savor it and enter into the artist’s experience even in a minimal way. The artist, ideally, communicates experience in images and forms so precisely tailored, so personal, so multileveled that its insights go far beyond bare facts or mere usefulness.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Phil 4:6-7
I would have listened and understood with my head.
But when, instead, I heard the poetry of David, my heart heard and my soul was comforted.
“Because of the devastation of the afflicted, because of the groaning of the needy, Now I will arise,” says the Lord; “I will set him in the safety for which he longs. Psalm 12:6
I will arise. I will set him in safety. For which he longs.
I am writing in community today with other members of theHighCalling.org, considering together over the next few weeks Breath for the Bones – Art, Imagination, and Spirit: Reflections on Creativity and Faith, by Luci Shaw. Visit theHighCalling.org today to see what others are saying about chapters 1 and 2 of the book. Then, pick up a copy for yourself and read/write along with us. Next week we will cover chapters 3 and 4.