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Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Psalm 150:6

When the psalmist wrote this, he was thinking of a liturgical setting: harps, drums, timbrels, singers, everyone in his or her own way offering the best there was to the glory of God. The best every—artist knows what that is. The feeling of having stretched as far as you can stretch. The happy exhaustion of having given it your all. The arts sprang from religion, a theological and pastoral gift, not and extra little frill for those who happen to enjoy that sort of thing, but central to the human response to God.

Theological? Yes. When the human being stretches as far as possible, tests the limits training and skill, she is fulfilling God’s command: Be fruitful and multiply. Did you think that was just about having babies? The world is filled and nurtured in all kinds of ways besides the obvious one of procreation. The writer. The singer. The actor. The painter. Than dancer. God gives us gifts and we husband them carefully.

Pastoral? Absolutely. The arts enable both artist and patron. To create is to join in the work of the creator. Through the arts, the people of God come to know one another more fully, more as God knows each of us. They acquire the authoritative voice of interpreters of God’s action in the world. They sing and dance and paint one small piece of the sacred story.

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Comment by Janice Garey on April 16, 2010 at 10:06am
Thank you for your insight, Bruce. I like what you said about the joyful noise. In that respect I guess the most feeble sound could be like the widow's mite in God's eyes, that the person gave all and the best they had to give. Like you said, what counts is the love they show to God.
Comment by Bruce Friesen on April 16, 2010 at 12:40am
Thank you Janice for the kind words.
Is music the superior art form? Make a joyful noise to the Lord. It says nothing about the quality of the quality of the noise we make. The stakes are very different with children than adults. The person that can’t see the precious beauty and joy as any child sings or performs has some serious issues. Just look at the faces of the people that watch any children’s performance. They are glowing, sitting on the edge of their seats and taking pictures like mad. Not just relatives either. God loves his children all of them and loves to hear and see the many different ways they choose to show God they love him. Whoever receives one of these little children in my name reveries me. Mark 9:37a
Comment by Janice Garey on April 15, 2010 at 11:20pm
I really appreciate what you wrote about the arts. It got me to thinking and remembering how one year at VBS a comment was made that the children who couldn't sing could at least do the crafts. I interpreted the comment to mean that music was considered to be the superior art form. Do you have any thoughts on that?

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