The Civil Wars

A few years ago, I led worship on a retreat for a room full of seminary wives and students. Even though we were from all over the world, we had Jesus in common. We also had a need for rest and refreshment.

My Northern Irish friend shipped her mom across the pond as our keynote speaker. She was wise, funny, caring, and also a Well-Known-Pastor’s Wife.

In all her talks, the one that I’ve never been able to get away from was her permission to enjoy non-Christian art. This five-minute divergence from her main message marked one of the most pivotal moments in my journey as an artist. What changed me? Since God is creative, and He made us in His image, then all creativity stems from Him and all creative people are acting out the Imago Dei in their lives. She showed us that creativity is a direct reflection of The Creator, not just its creator. She also shared how she enjoys a variety of art, even the kind that doesn’t come out of the Church.

Gasp.

Could we really find glory and God in non-Christian Art?

Once I let her words slide down into my soul, they changed my perspective on Art (Let’s capitalize it, since it’s sacred). They also changed my perspective on my own Art. (See? Capitalized again.)

And she was right. Art has a way of revealing the Creator like nothing else.

Last week I sat on the third row of a concert hall, with The Civil Wars just a few yards away. I’ve admired this band since their “Sorry, our Eddie’s Attic demo is the only music we have to offer right now” days.

I could see sweat beads on John Paul’s face and the dimples on Joy’s. And when I felt the tears well-up during the bridge of their first song, I thought, “Oh no. This isn’t church. This shouldn’t move me so much.”

And then those beautiful Irish words came flooding over me and I told myself that God created them and they were about to show off for Him and I gave way to the moment. I gave way to Art. I gave way to the Imago Dei in them. And I listened close to their song about prayer. And I let it be my own prayer as well.

It was beyond me. It was larger-than-life. It was transcendant.

Am I the only one who’s experienced this? I mean, I’ve heard about people having a “religious experience” at a U2 concert, but have any of you had a similar experience? I would love to know!

and it wasn’t even a “Christian” concert.

by Mandy Thompson time to read: 2 min
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