Shari, one of our Catch readers, commented that she is currently in a book club that is reading the book, A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline. It’s a historical novel based on the life and times of Andrew Wyeth, and especially the painting “Christina’s World” which we discussed yesterday. How great that she was able to connect a novel she is reading with some insights that faith brings. We’ve been saying for some time here that one of our most important tasks is to connect faith to life. Faith and life have to be intertwined, or faith is just a static set of beliefs that sits on a web page or on the back of a bulletin. What we have found is that art, creativity, and beauty are all around us, and that we need to have eyes to see it, appreciate it and worship God when we do.
And I loved Steve’s comment, “Wonderful devotional. It too is art.” How true that is. When I write, I am conscious that I am creating a work of art. I work hard at making it not just about passing on information, but about creating something beautiful at the same time. How do the words mesh together? How do they sound next to each other in my head? Do I insult the reader by overstating the case? Do I appeal to someone’s conscience? Do I tell someone what to think, or do I make suggestions? Do the readers get to put some of the pieces together themselves? Is it not just beautiful, but beautifully said?
When Jacob was dying, he had each of his twelve sons brought before him so he could bless them. It was not only a blessing, but a prophecy about what their tribe was going to do and be, both positive and negative. Of Naphtali he said this: “Naphtali is a doe set free; He gives beautiful words.” Not just words, but beautiful words.
It doesn’t take anything more than a hike in the mountains, or a sunset, to realize that beauty is important to God. And here we find out that words can be beautiful. That’s lyric and poetry — the way the words are put together that makes for something beautiful. And that task is important enough to God to assign one of the twelve tribes of Israel the task of giving beautiful words.
It is a part of our God-given responsibility to surround ourselves with beauty. Beauty is not an option; it’s our spiritual calling.