If you go to an art gallery, you can watch people sit for hours staring at a single great work of art. They’ve seen it and pondered it before, perhaps many times, for dozens or even hundreds of hours. The human artist unleashed his or her creative instincts on a canvas, for months—if not years—of their lives. The devotees of the painting find it inexhaustible and are able to see or sense something new in the painting each time they ponder it.
If this seemingly inexhaustible beauty is true of the products of human hands, how much more true is it of God’s hands?
If people can stare tirelessly at a represented field of flowers created by Monet, how might we stare more intently at an actual field of flowers created by God? If we might endlessly ponder an artist’s rendition of a person, such as the Mona Lisa, shouldn’t we ponder all the more, and benefit from pondering, the wonder in the face of real people we see daily? And in particular, the marvelous person and work of Christ? If the words of Shakespeare can be read and reread with fresh understanding, how much more should the words of God yield new treasures of insights?
The music lover must turn on the music and listen. The nature lover and art lover must go out to nature or to an art gallery to contemplate their favorite beauties and discover new ones. So the Christ-lover must go to God’s Word and to God’s world to celebrate old insights and cultivate new ones.
Nature is secondary, a work of God and therefore one step from God, the primary. The work of a human being is tertiary, two steps from God who created the person, who created the art. If the secondary and tertiary can be so wondrous, how much more wondrous is the God who is the source of all secondary beauty, and is Himself the cosmic center of all primary beauty?
Consider this the next time you are tempted to skip going to the Bible and prayer and to contemplate God, in order to watch television or play a game or check email or social media: Why turn away from the headwaters of ultimate wonder and beauty to drink from the trickles of muddy water so far from the Source?
Sure, there’s a place for games and social media, and we may (I do) have a duty to check our email. But let’s put first things first. This will not only acknowledge the primacy of our great God and Savior, but also put all secondary things in their proper place.
Speaking of art, from time to time I go back to this creative conveyance of the Gospel from rapper Propaganda.