At Home with God - Music and Art
Since the building of the Tabernacle in the wilderness, places filled with art, beauty and music have been set aside to meet with God. Beyond the reading of Scripture, prayer, and community worship, there were things to see, feel, smell, and experience.
Churches through the centuries have offered wordless opportunities for communion with God and one another through stained glass, stunning architecture, and tapestries. Musicians through the ages have added their melodic voices to the songbook of the saints. Some of the world's most treasured pieces of art and music were written by followers of Christ, intended to draw people to a deeper experience of Him.
Houses of worship, though, are not the only places where we can meet God. We can create an atmosphere in our homes that fosters connections with God as well. How might music and art play a role in helping us experience God when we are together as a family? How might music and art speak to our spirits and unite us in ways that go beyond words?
Music and art provide wonderful opportunities for children (and adults, too) to express spiritual experiences. When children can't find words to tell what they are feeling in their spirit, they may be able to draw a picture or find words for their experience in a song. Looking at our drawings, the artwork of others or listening to music may be what many of us need to understand a spiritual encounter.
Music and art may also provide the platform for a new spiritual encounter or insight. These forms of beauty invite us to see God and truth with fresh eyes and ears. They can usher us into God's presence while they refresh our spirits and quiet our minds.
In addition, music and art can be markers on our spiritual journey. Reflecting on past drawings and songs that have been meaningful in our spiritual lives can help us understand our relationship with God and trace our spiritual growth over time.
Here are some practical suggestions for using art and music at home in your spiritual activities.
1. Use art as a way to respond to a biblical story. Lay out whatever art supplies you have, read aloud one of the suggested passages (or another Scripture of your choosing), allow everyone to draw or create whatever comes to their mind in response to God's word. Suggestions:
- Psalm 23
- Genesis 1
- Jesus calming the storm in Mark 4:35-41
- Jesus and the children in Mark 10:13-16.
2. Look at art together as a family. Start with art pieces you may have at home or ones that have been meaningful to different family members.Talk about what you feel and what you see in the works.
3. Make music as a family. Sing together or play instruments. Notice what it does to your unity of spirit to share this experience.
4. Listen to music together. Let family members pick different genres that they enjoy. Ask whoever picks the music to share with everyone how the music makes them feel and why they enjoy it. Be good listeners to the music and each other.
Here are some suggestions for your toolbox.
- We have already talked about having coloring supplies in your toolbox. Keep a supply of drawing paper with your coloring sheets so that family members can create their own pictures. Having Wikki Stix in your toolbox provides an alternative way to make a picture without drawing.
- Consider art flashcards or postcards that can be pulled out for reflection. Include works of art that represent biblical scenes and characters--paintings, sculptures, stained glass.
- Make a playlist of songs that your family enjoys singing with, playing instruments with or can listen to while doing quiet activities. Think about songs that express a range of emotion--gratitude, thanksgiving, lament, encouragement, endurance, joy, praise etc.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Genesis 1:1 (NLT)
From the very beginning of it's formation, God has taken delight in his creation and has woven beauty throughout it. In the Psalms we see again and again a call to praise God through song and with joy.
How might we grow in our awareness of God as we engage in art and music?
- Consider how drawing, singing or other creative endeavors can be a form of prayer. Be aware of God's presence with you. Pause to listen for God as you create and engage.
- Consider how drawing, singing etc. can be a way to receive and express love in your relationship with God. Use these expressions to love God with your whole heart and to take joy in being his beloved child.