I am fairly analytical. Much of the way I’ve experienced God has to do with Christianity making sense to me. I’ve spent a lot of time focusing on the idea of the Christian worldview, first as a student at the Focus Leadership Institute and later with my job as an editor of a worldview webzine. Much of this concept has to do with how Christianity answers big questions about life; it helps us to understand our faith through a framework. It is logical, linear, sensible. It works for me.
But in the last few years, I’ve realized how God works in so many ways, how He reveals himself to us in ways that we can understand and experience. I first started to realize this when I began digging around the Hebrew roots of Christianity. I learned so much more about the Jewish perspective and how they see God concretely throughout the Scripture — He is a Father, Shepherd, Rock, Shade. I began to understand the wholeness of God’s story — all the twists and turns and plot points that were so fascinating to me as a writer.
This weekend I went to an art show put on by one of the students at Denver Seminary. This show was his final project before graduation, a culmination of what he’d learned in his spiritual formation degree program. Each of the attendees received a paper with this student’s story on it. The story was told through 10 songs that played while we watched him create an art instillation in front of us. The songs were varied — from the Doxology to Imogen Heap, but the lyrics and the melodies helped portray a variety of experiences and emotions he had been through. We listened to each song, we read about his story, and he created a piece of art in front of us that expressed what God had done in his life. It was messy and confused, dark and light, frightened but redeemed. It was beautiful.
That art show was completely different from how I process things. I would never have thought to express what God had done for me in that way. It’s not something that I would ever do, but it was very meaningful for the student and for those of us watching.
I was recently reading in Exodus where God gives Moses instructions for the building of the tabernacle and for all the garments and gold plating and weaving and carving that was to be done. In Exodus 31, God says that He chose Bezalel to make artistic designs, to cut stone and work with wood. Bezalel was filled with the Holy Spirit and given wisdom and understanding specifically for these tasks. All of the workers who would assist him were given skills by God as well. This was fascinating to me because in the Old Testament, not everyone was filled with the Holy Spirit like all believers are today. The Spirit came upon certain people — usually “big name” people like Saul or David or Elijah for certain times and tasks. And God thought the artistic work of the tabernacle and priestly garments was so important that He sent His Spirit to fill Bezalel so that he could create beauty.
God speaks to us through His Word, through His Spirit, and we express our worship to Him in so many different ways. It may be through analytical thinking, or through storytelling, or through visual art. It may be through song or hospitality or accounting. God can use our skills, our passions, the things that speak to us, for His glory. In fact, He sometimes fills us with His Spirit for that very purpose.
What are some of the ways you’ve experienced God? How have you used your interests and talents to worship Him and share what He’s done in your life?
P.S. I’m having a giveaway over on my blog this week — gift cards, books, etc. You should enter!