Finding God in the Arts: Weekly Summary — Center for Action and Contemplation
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Finding God in the Arts: Weekly Summary

Finding God in the Arts

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Week Thirty-Three Summary and Practice

Sunday, August 15—Friday, August 20, 2021

Sunday
Until we can experience each thing in its specific “thisness,” as artists so often do, we will not easily experience the joy and freedom of Divine Presence.

Monday
Beholding happens when we stop trying to “hold” and allow ourselves to “be held” by the other. We are completely enchanted by something outside and beyond ourselves.

Tuesday
For some the call to worship comes as joy spurts from jazz riffs, wonder thunders from tappers’ feet. Each artistic moment is just slightly beyond our horizon of understanding. What a gift it is, this lack of understanding. —Barbara Holmes

Wednesday
I experience God, my Maker, in the studio. I am immersed in the art of creating, and I have come to understand this dimension of life as the most profound way of grasping human experience and the nature of our existence in the world. —Makoto Fujimura

Thursday
When we are receptive we let go of our agendas and expectations. We allow ourselves to see beneath preconceived ideas. Rather than going after what we want in life, or “forcing,” we cultivate a contentment with what actually is. —Christine Valters Paintner

Friday
We are, each of us, more than we seem, more than the sum of our merely human components. There is a divine spark animating each of us, and that divine spark also animates our art. —Julia Cameron

 

God Loves Things by Becoming Them

The Christ Mystery refuses to be vague or abstract. It is always concrete and specific. When we choose to “behold” things instead of begrudging them, we begin to see that everything is a revelation of the Divine—from rocks to rocket ships, from a Rembrandt to a Rothko. Our incapacity to see stems from our own lack of fascination, humility, curiosity, awe. The only thing needed is a willingness to surrender to the naked now, which God always inhabits, where the Incarnation always takes place and is always mysterious, where God, in every moment, is perfectly hidden and, at the same time, perfectly revealed. Hold that paradox. Those who have eyes to see can allow both to be true. If Christ is that by which we see, Christ is also what we see in the material world.

In 2019, we deliberately started our Universal Christ conference by anointing a rock, as Jacob does in the Book of Genesis (28:11–19). He uses a rock for a pillow and dreams of a ladder between heaven and earth, with angels walking between the rock and the heavens. He wakes up and says, “Eureka! I found it. You were here all the time, and I never knew it,” and he anoints the rock and names the place “House of God,” “Gate of Heaven.” If we had no other story in the Old Testament after Genesis, we have been gifted a good theology.

I invite you to proclaim this call and response prayer with the larger CAC community today:

Vigil Proclamation

The speed of light is the one constant in the universe.
We are the light,
and this love that it symbolizes is the one thing that makes
the world go ’round.

Call and Response:

The quantum, the subatomic, the elemental, and the very minerals of the earth:

God loves things by becoming them!

The very waters that fall upon the earth, run through our rivers, our bodies,

and fill our oceans:

God loves things by becoming them!

The plants, the trees, all living and growing networks that root into this earth:

God loves things by becoming them!

The animals in our skies, in our oceans, on the land, all creatures great and small:

God loves things by becoming them!

Human beings: every race, nationality, status, sexuality, or gender—ALL human bodies:

God loves things by becoming them!

The angels and the spirits, those that move in the unseen realms and in other

dimensions:

God loves things by becoming them!

The great planetary bodies, the galaxies, and the whole cosmic mystery:

God loves things by becoming them!

Experience a version of this practice through video and sound.

References:
Adapted from Richard Rohr, A Spring Within Us: A Book of Daily Meditations (CAC Publishing: 2016), 313–314;

The Universal Christ Liturgies (CAC Publishing: 2019), 28–29; and

“Parenting,” Another Name for Every Thing, season 2, episode 11, October 12, 2019 (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2019), audio podcast.

Image Credit: Arthur Greenberg, In a Field (detail), 1973, photograph, Illinois, National Archives.
Image Inspiration: The texture of this image inspires us to know this grass better by running our hands through and allowing it to tickle our fingertips. Likewise, when we create art, we experience an embodied knowing of God.
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