Last week I ran into a great blog post by Bill from Touchstone Theatre on the importance of beauty. I loved it. Such a wonderful explanation of why we should encourage children (and adults too) to be engaged in arts. It reminded me of one of my favorite justifications for Christians being in the arts: that God is a God of beauty.
(As an aside, I could write a whole post on the tragedy that Christians need to justify their work in art. But that is for another time.)
In the midst of God's direction about the specific laws that His people must obey, there is this command for beauty. When you look at the instructions of the tabernacle and the temple we see that God values beauty. It is part of His character, part of who He is.
The old testament isn't the only place where God cares about beauty. In Ephesians we are told that Christ is in the business of beautifying his bride (Ephesians 5:25-27) and the depiction of the Holy City in Revelation is full of magnificence beauty: a beauty that will reflect the glory of the Son so much that there will be no need for sun. (Revelation 21:10-27)
I often marvel at how awesome God's beauty must be. We only see a glimpse of it portrayed through a fallen creation. How much beauty will we see when all imperfection and sin is stripped away? It will be mind blowing. It will knock us to our knees in worship.
With just those small examples, and there are more that could be cited, it is safe that Christians should embrace, pursue, and create beauty. I think sometimes Christians shy away from art because there is the fear that it will give worship to the person who made it instead of to the ultimate Creator. That's valid, but that is a struggle in every profession. Christians who feel called to being doctors shouldn't hold back because they fear that people will credit them with the power to heal instead of God. Certainly we have our duty to point people to the source of our abilities and to remind everyone that we are but His instruments.
But that is one of the awesome things about Christians being involved in any and every line of work under the sun. It is a way that we can point people to Jesus just in the acknowledgment that we perform through His power and grace.
I mention the above passage often to my actors. It's an encouragement to me to know that I have been called by name and that I have been filled with the Spirit for a specific task: to work in all kinds of craftsmanship for glory and for beauty. Knowing that God is with me is a huge help to me when I act. When I hold onto that truth, it relieves me of the pressure to get approval from my actors, audience members, or staff.
As most of you already know, or do by the time you've read to here, I am a huge proponent of beauty. But beauty does not only come in the arts. My husband works at PPL as an engineer and he finds beauty in power lines and power plants. Maybe that seems strange, but I think it is incredible that God can work with us so individually that different things speak beauty and glory to different people.
Another example of this: my husband enjoys watching football (both versions). The glory of the struggle to victory, the beauty of a brilliant pass or amazing goal sparks something in him. I watch it with him to share in his enjoyment but it doesn't speak glory and beauty to me the same way that sitting down and watching an episode of Babylon 5 does.
What are the ways that God has called you to embrace, pursue, and create beauty? Please share! In whatever situations God has called us, whether on the stage or off, I hope that He fills your life with glimpses of His glory and beauty.