I gave more thought to Easter this year than I have in previous years, and I believe that art played a major role in helping me to focus and to feel.
I can’t remember ever getting incredibly excited about Easter. I’m sure I looked forward to the candy and the egg hunts as a kid, and I know I’ve enjoyed times of fellowship and food with family and friends more recently. I also know that Easter, for Christians, is a time of celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. As Paul wrote, the resurrection is central to our faith (1 Corinthians 15), meaning that Easter, of all holidays, should be a time of great rejoicing. Even so, I can’t remember ever feeling moved by remembrance until this year.
This year, I took time to listen to music specifically written about the resurrection. Andrew Peterson released his Resurrection Letters, Volume 1 album just before Easter. These nine songs, each related to the resurrection of Christ, followed a short prologue project released earlier this year which considered Christ’s death. In these songs, Peterson offered a fresh look at the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord. His words moved me to consider the weight of these events more deeply than I have before, and his musical talent served to enhance the already powerful words to produce music that is both reverent and rejoicing, both somber and celebratory.
As Peterson’s music echoed in my mind, I took some time to write about the resurrection and its meaning. Poetry helps me to think and to feel, and I’ve found that time spent wrestling with words and phrases helps me to internalize truth in fresh ways. Writing poetry forces me to think about a subject deeply in order to articulate truth clearly, and such work often forces me to approach a topic from a different angle or from a different perspective. I try to bring different pieces of biblical imagery or wording to bear on a subject, thereby hoping to express the same truth in a memorable and moving way. Writing poetry can thus be somewhat devotional in nature.
Art, both taken in and worked out, served to deepen my love for the Lord this week. I pray the lessons won’t soon fade, for I need to be reminded daily of the glory of God in Christ’s resurrection. I need to look often at the cross and the empty tomb, for my life is found in that story. And I’m learning to praise God for his good gift of art which so beautifully holds me to the mark and draws my focus back when my gaze begins to wander.
So today, I want to encourage you to thank God for art as well, but I also want to encourage you to use the talents he’s given you to proclaim his excellencies. I know singers, painters, writers, dancers, photographers, and many others who possess unique perspectives that God can use to highlight his glory. So write, play, sing, draw, paint, dance, photograph, and capture the view you have of glory so that we may all worship the Almighty together. Use the gifts of God for the sake of his name, that we all may come to know him and to love him better.
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.