Creating art is one of those areas in worship that has a tension of either being very good or not so good. And just like music, everyone has an opinion of what is good art. Artists of all kinds like to display everything they have and think it is necessary and great. On the other hand, the viewer (audience, congregation) might think differently. But the idea is that all is to the Glory of God (Soli Deo Gloria). If all is to the Glory of God, then why does art forms seem to be controversial in the aspect of is it a display of human accomplishment or is it a display of expression in worship?
Exodus 25 talks about Bezelel, from the tribe of Judah to be the artist because God has inspired him to carve with wood, and to devise artistic things. It was as if God had ordained Bezelel to be the artisan of the temple.
Our Reformed heritage and history have stripped our artistic expression and for good reason. The Icons of the day and the elaborate artwork were considered a distraction to the preaching of God's Word. But we see things differently again. Only in recent history have we introduced and made expressions of visual art a part of our worship experience. Liturgical colors are coming back (Purple/Blue=Advent; White/Gold=Christmastide & Eastertide; Green=Epiphany & Growing Season; Purple=Lent; Black/No Color=Good Friday; Red=Life of the Church). Using elements, candles, abstract imagery, words on banners, etc. that enhances the theme of the service or season.
The most popular in our worship space is banners. We have attempted to do other seasonal and thematic elements, and with some admission of confession, they maybe we not so great. Our culture is using visual artistic expressions as a form of worship and that Christians are allowed once again to be engaged during worship.
So the questions I pose today: How are your artistic endeavors in your congregation? Are we allowing individuals to be creative in a way that they can express themselves? Do you have any "unused" artists in your congregation? What are some elements in your worship space that have made a "permanent" display? What are some meaningful artistic expressions that you have done that have been meaningful to your congregation?