Art, Music and Bonsai?

“For: The Institue of Contemporary and Emerging Worship StudiesSt. Stephens UniversityEssentials Red Online Worship Theology Course with Dan Wilt.”

Sorry I have been quiet of late, I have been busy marking exam papers and then this last week I have been on holiday and just busy with all the stuff I was too busy to do when at work.

In my worship studies we have been discussing how we can use music and art to further our worship. Obviously both of these forms have been used quite a bit in worship, obviously music has always been used and more recently has become an entire industry all of it’s own.

Art on the other hand was also very popular and seems to be making a come back of late which is great. We only have to think of the Iconographers, Michael Angelo and the Cistene Chapel to see that art has held a very strong place in worship in the past.

But what about today, for us “plebs” whose artistic expression amounts to a fun filled hour occasionally of pictionary! (I include myself in this category). Also are the fresh ways we can use music to further our worship of God?

For me it began a long time ago, in my early twenties. I heard Graham Cooke talk about how whenever God gave him a promise or a special encounter with God, he would go down to the garden center and buy a big rock and have them put it into his garden at home. Then when he went to pray in his garden he could touch each rock and be vividly reminded of God’s word to him.

Obviously that’s nothing new, all the main role players in the Old Testament used to do that, whether it was Moses, or Jacob anointing a rock he had used for a pillow (has evolution made our heads softer? Ha ha.)The Old Testament called it building an altar, which was a place to worship God, and so that got me thinking about how we could apply this concept to our lives today.

I started this by buying bonsai trees, one for each significant promise God had made to me. I figured that being small I could take them wherever I lived. However I left them in the capable hands of my sisters while I went on honeymoon and when I got back they were dead, the trees I mean. But jokes aside it’s an idea I would like to revisit. It was great as I would water them and prune the branches I would meditate on God’s inheritance for me contained in those promises.

Another idea would be to get a piece of art done for you, or do it yourself. Art work that describes a vision, prophecy, promise or time in your life when God felt especially close to you, and one that inspire worship and a consciousness of His presence. Then put it up in a place where you will regularly see it. Better yet take down those hideous boy band posters and put it up there (ha ha).

Lastly with regards to music. Our church recently had a really special time with the Lord in worship, where a prophecy really challenged us a a group of believers. However how many times doesn’t God say something to us individually or corporately, and we remember it for a week or so, and then just because it is a new Sunday and we must have something new and fresh, we leave behind the things that God is busy working on in us. SO I have decided to write a song that encapsulates that prophecy so that each week as we sing it we can continue to allow God to work in that area.

What are some ideas you have or comments you would like to make?


2 thoughts on “Art, Music and Bonsai?

  1. Hey Justin,
    I was just re-reading this, and I guess I never paid attention to it the first time. Cooke’s idea of using art (or anything three-dimensional, or tactile) as a kind of altar I thought was interesting. Using a physical thing as an entry in three-dimensional spiritual journaling. A sacrament of memory, perhaps? Now you’ve got me thinking…
    Love and peace,


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