Magazine article Anglican Journal

God's Story Emerges in the Power and Beauty of Artistic Expression

Magazine article Anglican Journal

God's Story Emerges in the Power and Beauty of Artistic Expression

Article excerpt

CAN YOU IMAGINE our church without the music, art, stained glass, hangings or sculptures that adorn our worship life? At the Reformation some Christian communities, fearing that art was supplanting a focus on God, demanded a simple, unadorned manner of worship and plain buildings with little or no decoration. Anglicans retained the possibility that music and art are not unnecessary distractions or idols but rather are vehicles to nurture and deepen faith.

The work of artists allows for the expression of our deepest feelings and longings. Stained glass windows tell the stories of our faith--so much so that a child is purported to have exclaimed that "a saint is someone the light shines through," pointing to a stained glass window. Music moves the soul and draws us closer to God through our emotions. The power of a full choral service or of worship with an organ filling the space of a cathedral takes us into the power and majesty of God, while simple Taize chant sung in community draws us together more deeply. Sculptures express the human condition in wood, bronze or stone in ways words alone cannot accomplish. The homeless Jesus statue moves the plight of the poor past our mental defences, challenging us to put compassion into action.

Every culture has its own ways of expressing itself. The variety of artistic expression across the human community reflects the creativity we share with God, the Creator. The art and music of different cultures uniquely express the hearts of their people. …

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