Music, art, dance, theater, story…does your soul ever just burst into song within you when you listen to Handel’s Messiah on a crisp winter evening or look at a sketch of robins singing outside a country kitchen window?
I was sitting in a little brick coffee shop, sipping a caramel toasted marshmallow something-or-other and a song came on the radio. It pulled me from my chair in an instant. I was there with the artist feeling what he felt, pulse pounding, tears behind my eyes, ready to fight and laugh and fall in love. The song inexplicably moved me.
I think art is the greatest argument for the existence of God.
Of what evolutionary value is the stirring of the soul, what of beauty, why do we seek out these things? They have nothing to do with food, shelter, or procreation. Why are they precious?
This summer I asked my boys if they wanted to go over to camp for worship. It is usually past their bedtime and I often go a whole summer without listening to my absolute favorite kind of worship in the world. Acoustic guitar in a log lodge with the wind stirring in the pines outside. But they are getting older and I asked if they wanted to go. “Yes,” they said. So we crept past the campers, up the stairs, and onto the balcony. I stood quietly against the wooden railing next to one of my sons. We did all the motions to the songs while his brothers snuggled up on the couches behind us. We looked down on Choco and Shinobi and Hatu as they played guitar and drums. The evening light warmed the log building and gleamed on the rough wood pulpit. When they switched to slow songs, my son raised his hands to heaven, closed his eyes, and sang. I wept, and yes, I sang too.
Art is from God. Not all of us see that, but art is no less a miracle for that. There is beauty here, even in this bleak and terrible world. God has stepped into our darkness and stirred our souls. We are His art and He is the reason we can even dream of song and story and picture and dance and love.