God of the Arts
One of the things I love about living in Charleston is the Spoleto USA Festival. Every year I look forward to this celebration of music, dance, theatre, and other art forms that takes place all over Charleston in late May and early June. We are fortunate to live in a place where some of the best the artistic world has to offer comes to our very doorstep. The arts have power to move us deeply and speak to our souls in a unique way. From the earliest human history, people have expressed themselves through these media, in cave paintings, songs of joy and lament, and stories passed down from one generation to another.
During a visit with a dying patient and her family recently, the patient’s son told me that she had not recognized any of them in some time. “But she still knows every word to her favorite hymn,” he said. The day before she passed away, she had been singing it, and in her final hours on earth, her family gathered around her bed and sang it to her. The familiar tune and the words of peace and comfort, of the presence of God in times of trial, of the promise of life after death, brought solace to the family just as they had to the patient. I have seen other patients express themselves through writing poetry or blogging, drawing or painting, and all of these creative outlets were an important part of their journey, allowing them to channel emotions they may not otherwise know how to convey.
God gave us a great gift in the arts. We have a very creative Creator, and our own creativity is one of the ways I believe the image of God in which we were all created is most clearly displayed. That is why I always find it so moving to see someone share the passion of their soul through art, or to find ways to do so myself. God is present with the artist in a special way, inspiring (literally “breathing into”) him or her. I hope you will take the time to enjoy some of Spoleto when you can, and to find your own ways of creating art for God to enjoy.
God, thank you for your creativity displayed all around us, in rainbows and sunsets, bird songs and seashells. Your world is so full of beauty for us to enjoy. And you have allowed us to create beauty as well, through art. We pray that you would be pleased with our creative efforts, as we use them to express the deepest feelings of our souls. Amen.
-- Chaplain Stacy N. Sergent