Worship Through Art
Since this blog started at the beginning of lockdown, we have focused a few times on the different and creative ways you can spend time with God and in worship… especially under the changed circumstances we have all experienced.
These changed circumstances have been more noticeable than before since Bristo has started using the church building for services again. Those who have attended Sunday morning services will know that one of the biggest adaptations to make has been in music, as we are not yet able to sing as a group under health and safety guidelines.
While we all miss the experience of singing together, this has proven to be an interesting time to try something a little different for worship. Although music is the most common – and possibly easiest – group form of worship, there are so many ways to express your feelings about God and connect with him alongside the rest of the body.
Something that not many people have tried before, but can be a perfect option if you’re looking for an alternative form of worship, is art. We’ve been exploring this a little recently at Bristo, as those who are used to practising worship through art have been able to bring their materials into the service.
Art, craft and design has been a recognised expression of the Holy Spirit since the Old Testament; we read in Exodus 35 how God filled craftsmen with His spirit as he was giving commands for the creation of the Tabernacle.
30 Then Moses said to the Israelites, “See, the LORD has chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, 31 and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills— 32 to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, 33 to cut and set stones, to work in wood and to engage in all kinds of artistic crafts.
34 And he has given both him and Oholiab son of Ahisamak, of the tribe of Dan, the ability to teach others. 35 He has filled them with skill to do all kinds of work as engravers, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen, and weavers—all of them skilled workers and designers.
If you’ve been to an arts worship event, you might have seen someone free painting, or perhaps painting a prophetic vision they have had. This can be an amazing experience, and is often what people think of when they imagine “art worship”. However, this can also be a little intimidating, especially if you’ve not had much practise in painting and drawing. But this by no means the only art worship you can do – just as we all enjoy singing practised and familiar songs, there is just as much to be had from pre-planned arts and crafts.
Some crafts are good to use as metaphors or reflections on the service or bible reading. For example, a few weeks ago, some members of the Bristo creativity team painted rocks during art worship at church. This was a focus on the many verses involving rocks as imagery in the Bible. You might find an interesting craft or art project that reflects a recent Bible study or book you have read.
Another simple art activity that’s easy to plan is creative lettering – drawing or painting out the words to a Bible verse. This can be a good exercise if you’re meditating on a particular passage of scripture, as it forces you to pay attention to each word by itself and take your time to think them over. This might be an option to try if you regularly journal, as the process is similar. There are lots of lettering tutorials available online if you want help!
You can also use your creative talents to make something for everyone to enjoy, like this Autumn-themed display from Jeanette (photo above.) Using our creative talents to reflect God’s natural wonders for ourselves and others is a great way to worship. Think of some favourite nature-based hymns, for example, like “You’re Beautiful” or “How Great Thou Art”. You might want to try something like arranging flowers, or pressing leaves…
And if you’d like to try free painting or creating art without any particular plan, you can always grab some paints, put on some worship music in the background, and see what you can come up with! If you haven’t painted before, or if it’s been a while, just enjoying the colours and shapes you can create is a lovely, thoughtful worship option that can allow you to pray at the same time.
You may have noticed some art going on at the back of the church recently…! If you’d like to join in with the sessions, please get in touch with the creativity team ahead of time so we can plan an activity with the service leader for that Sunday.
But the suggestions above can all be followed at home as well, during a quiet time or family worship. Why not see if there is a new form of art worship that will give you something new to explore…?