Finding God in the Arts

Until we can experience each thing in its specific “thisness,” as artists so often do, we will not easily experience the joy and freedom of Divine Presence.

Beholding happens when we stop trying to “hold” and allow ourselves to “be held” by the other. We are completely enchanted by something outside and beyond ourselves.

For some the call to worship comes as joy spurts from jazz riffs, wonder thunders from tappers’ feet. Each artistic moment is just slightly beyond our horizon of understanding. What a gift it is, this lack of understanding.
—Barbara Holmes

I experience God, my Maker, in the studio. I am immersed in the art of creating, and I have come to understand this dimension of life as the most profound way of grasping human experience and the nature of our existence in the world. —Makoto Fujimura

When we are receptive we let go of our agendas and expectations. We allow ourselves to see beneath preconceived ideas. Rather than going after what we want in life, or “forcing,” we cultivate a contentment with what actually is.
—Christine Valters Paintner

We are, each of us, more than we seem, more than the sum of our merely human components. There is a divine spark animating each of us, and that divine spark also animates our art. —Julia Cameron


God Loves Things by Becoming Them

The Christ Mystery refuses to be vague or abstract. It is always concrete and specific. When we choose to “behold” things instead of begrudging them, we begin to see that everything is a revelation of the Divine—from rocks to rocket ships, from a Rembrandt to a Rothko. Our incapacity to see stems from our own lack of fascination, humility, curiosity, awe. The only thing needed is a willingness to surrender to the naked now, which God always inhabits, where the Incarnation always takes place and is always mysterious, where God, in every moment, is perfectly hidden and, at the same time, perfectly revealed. Hold that paradox. Those who have eyes to see can allow both to be true. If Christ is that by which we see, Christ is also what we see in the material world.

In 2019, we deliberately started our Universal Christ conference by anointing a rock, as Jacob does in the Book of Genesis (28:11–19). He uses a rock for a pillow and dreams of a ladder between heaven and earth, with angels walking between the rock and the heavens. He wakes up and says, “Eureka! I found it. You were here all the time, and I never knew it,” and he anoints the rock and names the place “House of God,” “Gate of Heaven.” If we had no other story in the Old Testament after Genesis, we have been gifted a good theology.