The arts and the Gospel

Posted by Michael Adler

All of my adult life I have loved the mission of helping to creatively set the stage to tell the Gospel story. 

On many occasions I’ve gotten to work with brilliant, highly gifted people; artists whose virtuosity was heads above the rest. 

I’ve worked with those who aspired to be great, giving their all and working at every opportunity to refine and develop their gifts. 

I’ve worked with folks who were just hard working, devoted saints without a lot of flourish or flair. They could swing a hammer or paint a flat or sew a tunic. 

But collectively, when this group comes together and -- shoulder-to-shoulder -- they lean into their one big thing, something wonderful is about to bloom and flourish and find its place in one whose heart is ready to hear. 

Telling the Gospel story has been a part of the life and calling of believers since Jesus gave us the definitive “go” in Matthew 28. But Jesus didn’t just hang this centuries old command around our necks without an instruction manual. 

His methods for explaining this new life to the people of His time were simple. He could take something as common as a seed, or a pearl, or some yeast, or even a child to stimulate the mind and the imaginations of His listeners. He knew his audience, and He knew how to creatively use tools that were familiar to them in order to bring clarity to his message. He used every prop that was available to Him whether it was a fisherman’s net or a stick etching a compelling message in the sand. 

His storytelling, and the visuals He added to them, drew audiences from miles around. More often than not, He left those audiences with transformative questions and new tools for living life based on His Kingdom perspective. 

Time moved on, and His story was not only the subject of the preacher in the city square. 

His story was the subject of oratorios and dance, of painting and sculpture. Stories written to deftly intertwine Christian themes began to populate the landscape of both literature and entertainment. Writers such as Tolkein and C.S. Lewis brought God’s redemptive story to the populace through brilliant allegories and captivating storytelling.

And today a new generation of believers rises up to bring light to this world and life to those who will listen. Today, our calling remains the same.  

The ultimate Creator has called us, His creation, to declare His greatness to all the nations. While a bullhorn and soapbox might create the most volume, the creative gifts found within the body of Christ have proven far more effective in finding their way to a listening heart. Our message remains the same, and we are compelled to craft new ways to repeat the sounding joy.  

Joy to the World! The Lord is Come!