Wednesday, December 5, 2018
Church and the Arts . . . .
I am very grateful to Bill Cunningham, our musician, for the sharing of musical talents that he brings to St. John's each year for our annual Christmas concert. Bill works tirelessly to make this happen each year and it is a wonderful event. I am thankful also for the many musicians who share God's gifts with us through music that evening. I do not know of another event in our city at Christmas that brings together so many talented people for a single concert. This annual evening of music at Christmas is one of the ways in which our congregation blesses our city.
Our annual Christmas concert is a ministry to our community because the promotion of the arts is a godly activity. God is the provider of every gift and talent and it follows that their promotion and enjoyment is an act of Christian stewardship. Peter communicates this clearly in his first letter when he writes, "10 God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. 11 Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen." (1 Peter 4:10-11).
Another example of this stewardship is the placement of quilts made by our Sewing Guild in our worship space each year before they are shipped to those in need throughout the world by Lutheran World Relief. These beautiful quilts are practical art pieces through which God blesses and comforts those who are hurting. Whenever we employ our God-given talents for the benefit of others - God is working.
Whenever I think about the Church's role in encouraging and nurturing the usage of God's gifts, I am reminded of a line in a prayer included in the Common Service Book of the United Lutheran Church in America (published in 1919). The line is as follows: "Protect and prosper every one in his [or her] appropriate calling, and cause all useful arts to flourish among us." (page 253). One of the hallmarks of Lutheran teaching is what we have to say about vocations. We are clear in our teaching that God treats all our vocations equally - whatever they may be - as He works through them for the good of others. What a joy to be employed by God in His blessing of others.