Adorning the Dark: An Artist’s Benediction

lantern-waste-the-chronicles-of-narnia-7947997-2560-1920Note: I read this last night at a February performance of Behold the Lamb of God at a conference for creative-types here in Nashville called Re:Create. It’s from the conclusion of a four-part series I wrote last year called “Money, Part 4: Little Things Matter“.

Art, if it can be ascribed value, is most valuable when its beauty (and the beauty of the truth it tells) bewilders, confounds, defies evil itself; it does so by making what has been unmade; it subverts the spirit of the age; it mends the heart by whispering mysteries the mind alone can’t fathom; it fulfills its highest calling when into all the clamor of Hell it tells the unbearable, beautiful, truth that Christ has died, Christ is risen, and Christ will come again. None of these songs and stories matter if the beauty they’re adding to isn’t the kind of beauty that redeems and reclaims.

That doesn’t mean every song and every story has to be a sermon. Not at all! But the very existence of great stories and stirring music and good art is a sermon itself. That anyone at all in the world would set their sad heart and tired hands to working beauty out of chaos is a monument to Grace. It reminds us of light and high beauty, and it laments the world’s great sorrow. It gives the heart language to rejoice and language to mourn.

Creation groans like a woman in labor? Even so. And we know every birth is a tight-wound cord of fear and joy, pain and pleasure, striving and surcease. Let those who can, tell that story. Let those in Christ whose hands paint worlds, whose tongues limn loveliness, whose ears hear astral strains–let them make, and make, and make. And let the made things adorn the dark and proclaim the coming Kingdom till the King himself is come.