Musician, songwriter, and author Michael Card, in his book Scribbling in the Sand: Christ and Creativity, writes, “God is beautiful. His beauty demands a response that is shaped by beauty. And that is art.”
Art—whether it’s Monet, a book, a song, or ballet—can lead us to express worship to God. Both an artist creating a work and a person experiencing a work of art can be moved to deep and meaningful communion with our Lord.
“That is what true worship is—a response,” writes Card. “Because it is a response, it does not originate with me. He speaks. He moves. He is beautiful. We respond. We create. We worship…The call to creativity is the call to worship.”
Because God created us in his image, we too are creative. Author and singer Carmen Leal says, “I like to think of myself as a work of art made in God’s image. With my writing and my singing I am actually a work of art creating art. We are on this earth to proclaim to the world that God is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. When we serve and proclaim that news we are actively worshipping.”
Dena Dyer, actress, singer, and author, agrees. “My role as an artist is working in conjunction with God—or, rather, allowing him to work through me, to express his creativity.”
Sculptor and author Wendy Lawton has experienced God working through her during the creative process. Lawton, award-winning doll designer and president of The Lawton Doll Company, has sculpted more than 300 different editions of more than 75,000 handmade porcelain dolls now in public and private collections worldwide. She says, “Once in a while the finished piece transcends the medium and the artist to become a thing that astonishes me. When I realize that there’s more there than these two hands could manage, I know it’s a tribute to the Master Sculptor.” As she works, she usually engages in a dialogue with God.
The glory of God—and a need to use their gifts for him—drives many Christian artists. Nichole Nordeman, singer, songwriter, and musician, says, “I believe that when we return the gifts we’ve been given, God is glorified.”
Tere Halliburton, dancer and artistic director of a dance company, describes how dance helps the dancer worship. “Something happens when you use your entire body to worship. You are more vulnerable before God and consequently you are more open before him. As I let myself be more free in movement, it has allowed me to get to a whole new level of worship and trust in God.”
Excerpt from an article I wrote that first appeared in The Lookout, September 15, 2002.
Coming soon: Q&As with a poet, an art and architecture historian, executive director of a nonprofit devoted to the sacred works of classical music, and an occasional series on arts appreciation for kids.