by Karen Stiller
We have a painting in our living room that moves me. It’s of a horse, which sounds funny. But it’s a horse emerging out of nowhere, thundering from the background off to one side, clearly racing forward. It is inspired by the famous racehorse Secretariat.
And, the painting is inspired by Job 39: 19-24. “Do you give the horse its strength or clothe its neck with a flowing mane?” asks God of Job. The artist, Patty Kingsley, is one of so many artists whose work is inspired by their faith, and whose work inspires our faith.
In “Artful Discipleship,” the Faith Today summer story by Carolyn Arends (a Faith Today columnist, author and musical artist) she considers how the arts can help in spiritual formation, and encourages us all to embrace the arts a little bit more this summer. Arends discusses how the arts can help train us to pay attention; to train us in longing, to train for the renewing of our minds; and finally, to train us to appreciate things and people for more than their “usefulness.”
I encourage you, if you haven’t already, to read the story for yourself, and ponder it. After you’ve read it, pay special attention to the sidebar, when Arends provides simple ways for us to nourish our spirits with the arts this summer. One of those tips is to visit an art gallery, a favourite activity of ours especially when we are at our cottage, just a short drive away from a world-class gallery. We visited it in July, on a smoldering, hot day when some of their artists were painting on site, looking out over a beautiful lake. We asked questions about their inspiration and their technique (my father-in-law, an artist himself was with us). We felt their joy in their creations, and also their enjoyment in talking about their work. We wandered through the gallery, in awe of the gifts of the artists and the way they see the world.
The visit slowed us down. The art moved us. We saw how lovely this place, this world can be, and how lovely the Creator.
Karen Stiller is a senior editor of Faith Today. Be sure to read our Jul/Aug issue with all its creative beauty, and better yet, subscribe and receive a free devotional colouring book.