Friday, August 5, 2011

Hallelujah for the Artists!

We give thanks to you, O Lord, for the vision and skill of Albrecht Dürer, Matthias Grünewald and Lucas Cranach the Elder whose artistic depictions helped the peoples of their age understand the full suffering and glory of your incarnate Son; and we pray that their work may strengthen our faith in Jesus Christ and the mystery of the Holy Trinity; for you live and reign, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

At the noon day Eucharist, we celebrated the lives of three Germans of the Renaissance period. Dürer, Grünewald, and Cranach the Elder, painted and created woodcuts that captured images of Christ and some of the icons of church history such as Martin Luther during a time of enormous change happening with the Protestant Reformation in Europe.  Their works, especially the woodcuts and copperplates, allowed for mass reproductions for a populace hungry for art.

But these are not the only artists who ever tried to share their faith through their works.  As mentioned in the homily, there are many people who have used art to express the gifts God has given them.   I think again of the stunning beauty of hearing Haydn's piece "The Creation" and its electrifying introduction of a blast of sound at the line "Let there be light!" ("God is in the Art")    That musical moment stands out for me as such an amazing attempt by an artist to capture what he was experiencing in his head and his heart as he tried to give a glimpse of God's work through his own work.

Artists, both those who perform and those who create with their hands the images in their heads, reflect back a perception of the world as they see it that informs, provokes, inspires, and entertains our own imaginations.  Their contributions, especially when illustrating God,  is a form of prayer that works on a level transcending the headiness of corporate church.    Thanks be to God we have people of such creative energy to be among the mitochondria in the Body of Christ!


Phoebe McFarlin said...


Anonymous said...

That is why I sang in the choir for so long.