Why Art and Spiritual Formation?

ART AND SPIRITUAL FORMATIONplain_birds Spiritual formation happens in many ways and places. God is constantly in motion, working in us to make us a new creation.

“Anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new.”                                                              (2 Cor. 5:17 Message version)

We are shaped by what we love. Beauty and mystery make our spirits dance, and point us to God. The beauty of art helps us practice God’s presence.

Why I wrote an intergenerational book on Communion (“Supper with the Savior: Communion in the Bible and Today,” (available here). I experienced a vital part of my spiritual journey, as a fourteen year-old on a church bicycle trip around Lake Superior. Even though I was a newcomer to the youth group, I was welcomed into Christian community. A different church along our route hosted us each night. At one church, I received Communion and God’s love together with my new friends.

Comm_bread_for_blog
When I later worked as a Children’s Ministry Director, parents asked for a class to help them prepare their children for Communion. I developed a book to go along with the class. I love picture books; well-written stories speak truth to adults as well as children. I purposefully wrote my book for a variety of age-levels, so the generations can learn together I have had the privilege of sharing the book at many churches in the United States and Canada. During the book workshops, we shared a “Supper with the Savior” cake, because Communion is a celebration! supper_cake_pic A Way to Give Thanks I learned so much in writing about Communion! One thing I learned is that Communion is also called the Eucharist, which means “thanksgiving.” The Eucharist is at the heart of Christian worship. Communion unites us with Christ, and is one of the many ways that God forms us. Communion has many layers of meaning, kind of like an onion. You can peel an onion only to find there is much more there. One layer of the Eucharist, is that we offer bread and wine, good gifts from God, back to God in praise, along with our very selves. Jesus_flower_girl Art can also be an offering of the “work of our hands (Psalm 90:17),” that points others to God and builds up community. Theologian Cecilia González-Andrieu writes that,

“at its best, art is an invitation to a relationship…[art can function like] modern icons, opening windows and doors into depths of Spirit, where death never has the last word and the sacred beckons(Bridge to Wonder: Art as a Gospel of Beauty, p. 162).

Art, beauty, mystery, the Eucharist…all are woven together, and all form us into the body of Christ.

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