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In a world that seems to gather its strength from division, hate and war, what is our purpose? Why are we here? What can we do to show there is a better way?

God calls us to be ministers of reconciliation and grace. To proclaim hope to a dying world. But how?

We can be mediators of hope through the art, music and poetry we create. We can use the various mediums of art to convey stories of hope and healing.

"God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation" (2 Corinthians 5:18-19, NLT).

Some people look down upon artists who create art with an intended purpose, like religious art, or art for hire. One writer even called it a form of prostitution. They say that unless art is created purely for it's own sake, without any regard for how it might be used, it cannot be true art. I couldn't disagree more. There is no one definition for good art, except in some people's heads. To subscribe only to a narrow, rigid definition is both constricting and shallow, at the very least.

One dictionary defines art as, "The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power." (1)

There is great deal of beauty in the natural world that appears to have been created for our enjoyment and wonder. The following quotes from various artists demonstrates a wide understanding of what true art is:

"Art is a discovery and development of elementary principles of nature into beautiful forms suitable for human use." --Frank Lloyd Wright

"We have our Arts so we won’t die of Truth." Friedrich Nietzsche

"All art is autobiographical; the pearl is the oyster’s autobiography." --Federico Fellini 


“The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.” --Aristotle

“The position of the artist is humble. He is essentially a channel.” --Piet Mondrian

“To send light into the darkness of men's hearts - such is the duty of the artist.” --Schumann


However you define art, it is a powerful medium for communicating divine and human messages. When Christ lives in our hearts we naturally look for ways to share what we are experiencing with others. In this sense art truly is autobiographical. We can use it to tell our stories and to describe the incredible moments we have had in our journeys where divinity intersected with humanity--and our hearts were moved beyond words. Or we can us words to capture the personal insights that come to us as we walk with Jesus.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” Of course this doesn't mean we shouldn't be happy, or that God wants us to be sad. I don't think that's true. But for those God-followers who have creative abilities and skills, they want to make a difference! They want to be agents for positive change. I know I do. 

Pray that your life and the art you create will inspire others to want to join you as we work alongside the greatest Artist of all time!

Rich DuBose is Director of Pacific Union Conference Church Support Services, which produces inSpire. All rights reserved © 2016 VisitInSpire.org. Click here for content usage information.