Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Everyone's a critic

Opening Prayer

Here I am Lord,
Speak to me
within my heart and soul.
I am listening.

Ephesians 2:10‘For we are God’s work of art’


A wonderful phrase and how often do you hear the cynical or self-depreciating reply – Then I must be a Picasso!

Why do we find it so difficult? We are amazed by God’s hand on the rest of creation, the millions of species; the thousands of galaxies; the myriad of wonders that science uncovers every day. We marvel at the idea that of all the snowflakes that have ever fell – ever – no two have been alike. And yet we refuse to acknowledge the wonder in ourselves; the children that God holds in his hand.

Perhaps we have the wrong idea about art. We envisage it as something perfect, ideal, without blemish. Maybe if you are looking at an Ikea print for the living room you could apply those standards but not to Art with a capital A. Art is about communication, realisation, the need to create something outside normal definitions, the challenge to be a unique voice; to see what others do not see; to reach across barriers, borders and even centuries.

Art is about being more that the everyday, mechanical beings we often accept as our role. It certainly doesn’t involve being perfect because how do we get to being something wonderful without the ‘work’; the bit people gloss over – a WORK of Art – not something that has sprung fully formed but something that has been apprenticed; practiced; gone wrong, been redone over and over and still, in the artist’s eye, will still be needing that something else, something more.

An x-ray of any of the paintings of the grand masters, including Leonardo, will show rubbings out, reworking, bits added and taken away; the layers beneath adding life, experience and texture to the finished work of art. Artists working in stone will have had to adapt to faults and fissures in their creations. A logical, scientific critique will reveal faults in everything we find beautiful, inspiring and priceless.

And Picasso? During his early years as an artist his work was so precise to be almost photographic. He learnt every technique, every ‘rule’ of proportion. But his paintings had no heart, no soul, no creativity. That was only the beginning. His work changed until he painted what he saw, what he felt. He joyfully expressed emotion, spirit and movement.

Treasure the unique person that is you, the work of God’s hands and value every reworking, remodelling that has brought you to who you are ‘A Work of Art’ and be glad if you are a Picasso.

Everyone’s a critic

How many times will we hear how important we are to God and still not listen; preferring to imagine that everyone else is better than us and that God barely knows that we exist.

It’s a bit like looking in a mirror – do you see the life behind the eyes, acknowledge the lines of experience, be thankful for the characteristics that mark you as part of a family; or do you see everything that is wrong, out of proportion, covering it up with make-up even planning botox or plastic surgery?

It’s the same image, the difference is all in the attitude. Every single thing that happens in life has God in it – sometimes you just have to look a little harder. The layers that affect our lives bring us times of completeness and times of brokenness, but they all add to the creation of someone who is wonderful - you.

Sometimes you have to use inner grace to see the beauty and the unique qualities that we all have.

The saying goes about some people that God broke the mould after them. Well, God’s an artist – he doesn’t use moulds – we are works of his hands – works of art.

Closing Prayer
May the blessing of the Sacred Three
The Father who gave us the Word
The Son who is the Word
The Spirit who opens the Word within us
Be with us today and evermore.Amen


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