So much for ‘ars gratia artis’

At Trinity there is a lot that is easy to come by: homework, a filled library, the smell of coffee wafting from behind books, people walking briskly from one place to another as to not waste any of their precious time. But because of this there is a lot that is hidden on campus, some of it good and some of it bad.

Loneliness, a surprisingly common issue at Trinity, hides behind busy schedules. Stories of God at work are a constant flow in the lives of people at Trinity, but they are put on mute because of reading assignments and papers which keep students from telling their own stories. Spiritual gifts are veiled as we sit in classes unaware of the fact that the room in which we sit typing away notes is really a treasure chest of talented spirit-filled individuals.

Last night the curtain was lifted back a bit.

Thursday nights in seminary are our Friday nights because we do not have classes on Fridays. Usually, Thursday evenings are reserved for nights NOT spent in the library, NOT doing homework, and NOT reading books. So it was a perfect chance to go to Trinity Artist Guild’s open mic night.

I like to consider myself a part of Trinity Artists Guild, typically referred to as TAG. However, I’ve always felt like I sounded kind of pretentious calling myself an artist. This is mostly because my art is usually limited to playing drums ( in which you just hit stuff at the right time) and photography. I feel like photography a lot of times is the art of happenstance. All it requires is being at the right place at the right time with a camera in hand. (Sure there are things to know about what makes a good picture, but that is so easily learned it really doesn’t seem significant. Digital cameras have made photography an art that anyone can master).

Anyway, I gave a couple of my more recent photography projects to be put up in the room for the open mic night. It really is the first time I have ever done such a thing, so it made me feel kind of legitimate, but also somewhat like a poser because of the REAL artists who were there. There was a girl there who does phenomenal paintings, usually of portraits using wonderful colors. There was another girl who makes biblical scenes from paper and other methods. (See I don’t even know how to describe art…) There was another photographer who I consider a real photographer. He’s not afraid to walk up to someone and capture a moment in which they are expressing a very vivid emotion.

And then there’s

me.

But nevertheless, it was cool to hear people’s responses to my stuff. The usual response was, “YOU MADE THAT!? I had no idea you took pictures.”

“Yep…I take pictures…”
I really didn’t know what to tell people.

But beyond me was the real experience.
The real artists.

There were powerfully written, and chillingly wonderful poems presented. There were musicians who brought me into their lyrical world as if their music were hypnotic. Music that I couldn’t help but feel anger and hope at the same time. Songs that made me contemplate moments in my own life and helped me appreciate where I’ve come from and what God has done in my life. Songs that made nod in agreement with smile forcing itself upon my lips.

The setting was right. The smell of coffee filled the air. So many people came, there was really standing room only. A group of people all engaged as a single community not typically seen at Trinity.

But it’s only an open mic.

Art for art sake.
Right?

No.

And that was made clear. With the reading of Scripture and the intentional theme of the night being that this is WORSHIP to God. That art is more than just creative rubbish. This is art, not for its own sake.

This is art for God’s sake.

ARS GRATIA DEI

The curtain was pulled back a bit. We all learned things about each other last night. There are a lot of people with a lot of imagination and wonderfully creative talent in our midst here at Trinity. People loved this so much they practically begged to have this be a once a month thing. Creativity is so important. Art is so important. To hide these talents is to hide the blessings of God. It is to put the light of God under a bushel. I wholeheartedly believe that these talents reflect the creativity of our Creator. We are catching glimpses of His glory.

So this week as I go back to the library, and as I read my books, my earbuds are now filled with the sounds of those who have used their creative gifts in ways which bring glory to God.

What’s heaven going to be like?

I think it’s going to blow our minds.

One thought on “So much for ‘ars gratia artis’

  1. There’s an art to finding and being in the right place while also being able to move with instinctual speed to get to the shot. That’s a real skill.

    It could be argued (not by me) that a painter is just someone who can smear stuff on a piece of paper. Anyone can write a poem, but only some can make it something good. Anyone can take a picture, but few can make it something that people will really find something. You’re one of those.

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