Art in Evangelism
Watching paint dry. An action phrase used to detail exactly how boring a particular thing is. An action phrase used, in fact, to describe how lacking in action a thing can be. It creates some awkwardness for me when I try and describe my work as a live action painter against such an ingrained visual to my average fellow human.
Art is the gift God gave me. Even as a medical science major in college the margin doodles that frequently made it onto quiz and test papers gained me accidental benefit. Imagine my surprise when a sketch of staphylococcal bacteria, doodled in boredom, on a lab quiz earned me extra credit. An early sign that maybe God had other plans for my life than the things I was pursuing at the time.
From the simple symbol of a fish etched in the dirt outside underground churches during the persecution under Nero, to the elaborate commissioned statues and murals by the Roman Catholic church during the Renaissance, art has been used by the followers of Christ to proclaim the message of the Gospel. It is a natural medium, I think, because art is always relational. Whether that message is a secret symbol to find a place of worship or an elaborate scene depicting the work of Christ to edify the works of our Holy God – art speaks to us.
Watching a piece of art come together from nothing into the complete vision held by the artist is always an echo of the Creator. Like all talents and pursuits there is no higher calling than to receive what God has given you and use it for the Kingdom. In the same way music can uplift the spirit in ways words alone cannot, so to art is capable of depicting things the mouth cannot adequately express. It is a balm to the soul in color, depth, texture, curves, shadows, and light that all point to a creator; as our lives must, to be complete, point to the Creator.
“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28: 18-20