The Cloud and the Glory
I haven’t read much of the Old Testament. I’m familiar with the classics–Jonah and the whale, Daniel and lion’s den, the stories I learned in a florescent lit classroom on Sunday mornings. But I decided to make a change this year. I want to read the whole Bible.
Thus began my journey through the ancient books, which is what I want to talk about today–mainly, the book of Exodus and how this has affected my view of art. Here’s an excerpt from chapter 35, “He has filled them with the skill to do all manner of work of the engraver and the designer and the tapestry maker, in blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine linen, and of the weaver–those who do every work and those who design artistic work.”
Naturally, I freaked out at the mention of artists. Artists! In Exodus! I was officially intrigued. And God used these artists to work on his holy tabernacle and its furnishings. But this is what really struck me; it’s found in chapter 40. “Then the cloud covered the tabernacle of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.”
The artists did their very best. They engraved and designed and wove with skillful fingers. They created works of beauty for their God. But, when all their work was completed, when they had spent themselves empty, their beautiful creations had still not encountered the divine. God chose to do that.
I don’t want to forget that as I scribble my way through another manuscript. It doesn’t feel particularly spiritual to me right now, but, you know, I remember feeling that way with Penumbra for a long time. And then God met me on the page.
So what do you think about all of this? Is it weird for you to consider God touching your work as an artist? How do you feel about the whole idea?