I heard a sermon recently which ignited so many thoughts my words are interspersed with the Pastor's on my furious page of scribbling. I cannot separate the two voices, so forgive me for plagiarizing, Pastor Eddy! He was talking about the connection between our desire to worship and hunger... that our need to create is really a craving for God. We crave him so much and we are so spiritually hungry, living in this world. Are the poor blessed because they are hungry? Because they aren't satiated? Blessed. To hunger. To long for God.
And as we long for God, we imitate. We name. We declare... we worship.
Priests lifted up rocks and declared them beautiful. Jesus lifted up humanity and declared it holy. And are artists doing the same? Lifting up their creation to declare it holy. To offer a gift. To call out beauty in the world and give it value?
I have been reading the bucolic Planted by Leah Kostamo and she writes that the process of naming (in her case, rare species in conservation work) takes a person, a creature, or an object from something useful to something of innate worth.
And so Connie Jakab transforms movement into choreographed shows in which youth name their bodies, their stories, and their community as holy.
And Sandy Hopkins reclaims fragments and deconstructs painful stories to reconstruct glory.
And Dorothy Greco captures details in nature and on faces and reflects innate beauty and worth.
And Shauna Gauthier "take[s] some of the difficult and painful snap shots from this grand narrative we all live and move and exist within, and run[s] that gritty and messy material through the uniqueness of [her] own mind, sifting and sorting and searching for the beauty."
And Kourtney Street turns candles and cheese and conversation into soul care and creates spaces of rest where the Spirit can minister.
These are artists. And they are Priests. They have lifted up their creation and named it holy, creating in us a hunger and a desire to worship. It is a sacred act.
And me? I have been painting today. Treading carefully with paint-splattered feet (because I'm messy and I paint barefoot.) I'm claiming my space and making it my own, making it work for me. I want to be inspired in the kitchen again. Boring cabinets and floors reflected themselves in my cooking and hospitality. We're all ready for me to be inspired again.
But it's not the baking or the hosting or the space-making that is a wonder to me. It's that I crave it all again. I crave beauty. I crave for the boring-ness to go away. I hunger for God to be made real in our home as I transform the chaos of my kitchen into something of beauty.
And I realize for the first time, art is worship. When we imitate the creator by bringing beauty out of chaos, we do so in order to declare that what we see is holy. It must be! Our hunger for God is expended through our priestly hands, naming it all a gift.
So may we crave more and more. Let us declare and name and bring worth to the gifts God has given! Amen.