Faith Works 2-9-13
God welcomes help of all kinds
We got a little theology during the late stages of the Super Bowl, not from the victorious Ravens or the hapless 49ers, but during an ad (of course), with words spoken in the distant era of 1978.
Paul Harvey's paean to farmers was justly praised as a rhetorical high point of the night, with Beyonce's praise of putting a ring on something coming in a distant second.
The next day, some were asking "Does God make any other professional categories?" In the spirit of the original, and with apologies to Paul Harvey, there's one parallel occupation that struck me as worthy of some theologizing, even if this one is never going to make it onto a Super Bowl broadcast.
Thus was born: "And God created artists."
And on the eighth day, God looked down on a creation filled with possibility and said, "I need a collaborator." So God made an artist.
God said, "I need somebody willing to get up in time for the golden hour, shoot pictures for subject studies before going to their paying job, and come home after pulling overtime waiting tables and still work for hours on a charette." So God made an artist.
"I need somebody with arms strong enough to carve wood and marble and yet gentle enough to help a grandchild draw a perfect circle freehand. Somebody to call the co-operative studio scheduling list, re-set everyone's time an hour because of someone else's mistake on Google Calendar, and tell everyone they understood how upsetting this was -- and mean it." So God made an artist.
God said, "I need somebody willing to sit up all night with a kiln. And watch the glaze inexplicably crack when you take the firing out. Then wipe their brow and say, 'Maybe next batch.' I need somebody who can make a frame from a piece of driftwood, assemble a display panel from foam core and duct tape, sort beads with tweezers for forty minutes, and pick them up off the floor after a hunk of the driftwood hits the tray when you turn to reach for your cell phone. And who, during Gallery Hop season, will finish a forty-hour week by Tuesday noon, then, after working as a grill cook for a lunch rush, put in another seventy-two hours." So God made an artist.
God had to have somebody willing to wash the brushes by hand even after the thinner runs out, and yet be willing to work with what's on hand when they come in and find all the supplies have been scavenged over by someone looking for paint to patch a wall. So God made an artist.
God said, "I need somebody strong enough to hoist video installation display units onto wall brackets, yet gentle enough to sort egg shells for a mixed media project that requires twelve dozen, who will stop their potter's wheel for an hour to talk to the delivery guy about how he always wanted to be an artist. It had to be somebody who'd paint layered or wash, spattered or straight, even on a wall with the proper legal releases and not cut corners. Somebody to dab, daub, dot, drip, drizzle, and delineate, marking the bounding line and blurring the margins and mixing up more number three and finish a hard week's work with a five-mile drive to church where you'll be asked to 'donate some of that art stuff you do' to a rummage sale."
"Somebody who'd look at a family together and with a few quick lines on a tablet outline the strong bonds of sharing; who would laugh and then sigh, and then look for enough oil paint in tubes that haven't yet dried up to start a painting of someone who hasn't even imagined that their life itself is a work of art."
So God made an artist.
Jeff Gill is a writer, storyteller, and pastor in Licking County; tell him what you think God is making these days at email@example.com, or follow on Twitter @Knapsack.