The Arts – July 2019
(By Lilian Schmid, reviewed by Dr. Cynthia Davis)
The Arts refers to the theory and physical expression of creativity found in human societies and cultures. Major components of the arts include the following: literature comprising drama, poetry and prose; performing arts comprising dance, music and theatre; and visual arts comprising drawing, painting, filmmaking, architecture, ceramics, sculpting and photography. Some art forms combine a visual element with performance (e.g., cinematography) or artwork with the written word (e.g., comics).
The arts have also been classified as seven: painting, architecture, sculpture, literature, music, performing and cinema. Some view literature, painting, sculpture, and music as the main four arts, of which the others are derivative; drama is literature with acting, dance is music expressed through motion, and song is music with literature and voice.
All God’s Creation is Art
All of God’s creation is miraculous. God’s initial action in the creation of the cosmos was miraculous. And all he has made continues to be marvelous in its diversity, complexity, and function. If we truly believe in God’s providence through his continual action of creation, we have no choice but to be continually in awe.
We need to give recognition to who he is as a creator and sustainer. It is an act of worship. It is hearing, seeing, feeling, smelling, and tasting God’s expression of himself and then responding with our deep attention, appreciation, and engagement.
Art in the Bible
The first mention of art in the Bible is in Exodus 31. God is instructing Moses to create a tent for the ark of the covenant, and God mentions several artisans whom He has chosen to create ‘artistic designs’ to beautify the tent. God says, “In the hearts of all who are skillful I have put skill”. Also In 1 Kings 6, Solomon created a temple for the Lord. In verse 4, ‘artistic frames’ were made for the house.
This reinforces the fact that God does desire beauty and likes to be surrounded by it. Again, in Song of Solomon, the beauty of the bride is compared to ‘the work of the hands of an artist’ (7:1). God is the creator; He is the artist whose hands create beauty. It follows that any beauty we create is glorifying to God, our creator.
Praying with Art
“Eye has not seen, ear has not heard what God has ready for those who love him” (based on 1 Corinthians 2:9)
When we pray we close our eyes to see the beauty of God’s creation. For hundreds of years, the Church used painting, sculpture, stained glass, and sacred architecture to inspire and instruct. The role of the arts in supporting these functions was crucial in times when vast numbers of people were illiterate. St. Francis of Assisi and St. Ignatius of Loyola recommended a form of meditation wherein the person praying imagines him or herself immersed in the scene with God.
Music in the Bible
Praise the Lord.
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his acts of power;
praise him for his surpassing greatness.
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
praise him with the harp and lyre,
praise him with timbrel and dancing,
praise him with the strings and pipe,
praise him with the clash of cymbals,
praise him with resounding cymbals.
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord.
Please uphold all these areas of the Arts in your prayers while meditating on the scriptures.
“You alone are the LORD You have made the heavens, The heaven of heavens with all their host, The earth and all that is on it, The seas and all that is in them You give life to all of them And the heavenly host bows down before You.”
“’For My hand made all these things, Thus all these things came into being,’ declares the LORD ‘But to this one I will look, To him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word.’”
“Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.”
“God of creation, all-pow’rful, all-wise,
Lord of the universe, rich with surprise,
Maker, Sustainer, and Ruler of all,
We are your children – you hear when we call.
God of the ages, through time’s troubled years,
You are the one in whom hist’ry coheres;
Nations and empires your purpose fulfill,
Moving in freedom, yet working your will.”
(GOD OF CREATION, ALL-POWERFUL ©1987 Hope Publishing, words by Margaret Clarkson, 1987)
Language and Literature:
“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
Bless the creators, O God of creation,
who by their gifts make the world
a more joyful and beautiful realm.
Through their labors
they teach us to see more clearly
the truth around us.
In their inspiration
they call forth wonder and awe
in our own living.
In their hope and vision
they remind us
that life is holy.
Bless all who create in your image,
O God of creation.
Pour your Spirit upon them
that their hearts may sing
and their works be fulfilling.
(Prayer for Artists from Prayers of Our Heart by Vienna Cobb Andersen)
Let them praise his name with dancing
and make music to him with timbrel and harp.
For the Lord takes delight in his people;
he crowns the humble with victory.
(Psalm 149: 3-4)
They will come and shout for joy on the heights of Zion;
they will rejoice in the bounty of the Lord—
the grain, the new wine and the olive oil,
the young of the flocks and herds.
They will be like a well-watered garden,
and they will sorrow no more.
13 Then young women will dance and be glad,
young men and old as well.
I will turn their mourning into gladness;
I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.
Wearing a linen ephod, David was dancing before the Lord with all his might, while he and all Israel were bringing up the ark of the Lord with shouts and the sound of trumpets.
(2 Sam 6:14-15)
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
O God, whom saints and angels delight to worship in heaven:
Be ever present with your servants who seek through art and music to perfect the praises offered by your people on earth;
and grant to them even now glimpses of your beauty,
and make them worthy at length to behold it unveiled for evermore;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
(Prayer for Church Musicians and Artists from The Book of Common Prayer)
The 15 Best Cities In The World For Art
1 The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
2 Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
3 They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.
4 Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.
5 It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
6 It rises at one end of the heavens
and makes its circuit to the other;
nothing is deprived of its warmth.
7 The law of the Lord is perfect,
refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy,
making wise the simple.
8 The precepts of the Lord are right,
giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are radiant,
giving light to the eyes.
9 The fear of the Lord is pure,
The decrees of the Lord are firm,
and all of them are righteous.
10 They are more precious than gold,
than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey,
than honey from the honeycomb.
11 By them your servant is warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.
12 But who can discern their own errors?
Forgive my hidden faults.
13 Keep your servant also from willful sins;
may they not rule over me.
Then I will be blameless,
innocent of great transgression.
14 May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight,
Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.
Pray for each of these cities and praise God for His handiwork, claim the blood of Jesus over all these cities and proclaim holiness, purity, and the raising up of God fearing people living in these cities. Let God be glorified.
- Paris, France
- New York City, USA
- Tokyo, Japan
- São Paulo, Brazil
- London, UK
- Mexico City, Mexico
- Florence, Italy
- Lagos, Nigeria
- Berlin, Germany
- Chicago, USA
- Bogotá, Colombia
- Barcelona, Spain
- Melbourne, Australia
- San Francisco, USA