What is behind this show? There is something-an energy from your team-that I
have been searching for all of my life. I must know what it is!"
His name was Ercan. He had sensed the commotion in the streets of Istanbul,
but was unable to see, so he climbed a tree to watch from the shadows. The
message he saw was so compelling that he had to find out what it
Our ministry team, Urban Poets, was debuting a multi-layered production
consisting of dance, drama, art and percussion that expressed the human
struggle to reach God and understand life. During the show, dancers and actors
struck a giant canvas with different color paint.
An artist changed the marks and scribbles into a
beautiful sunrise. The message had no cross or religious symbols and very few
words (we used a soundtrack with voiceover in Turkish). But the images were
powerful and clear. Beauty and pain were brushed against a captive audience
through artistic passion and story. And the questions and conversations that
followed were soaked with spiritual intrigue and hunger.
A Turkish pastor stood close and voiced his surprise at the spiritual fervor
of the people. "I can't believe how spiritually open people are to this
presentation," he said.
The arts and faith have always been married, interwoven by intent and
purpose. They both ask the basic human questions: Who are we? Why are we here?
Where are we going?
When Paul was scribing his first chapter to the Roman "saints," he spoke
about God's invisible qualities- divine nature and eternal power being
understood by what was made. In short, he was expressing to them the method by
which God could communicate to us without uttering a word. He spoke through
image. Through creation God expressed Himself, and His pictures are worth a
Somehow, God designed the human spirit to understand the invisible through
creation. When we experience beauty or a story that illuminates our
imagination, we are stirred in a deeper place than reason. We are creatures led
by experience more than information. Like tuning forks, we resonate with the
vibe of a spiritual experience. And whether we consciously seek it or not, we
recognize when we've stepped into an eternal moment. Art doesn't explain or
provide answers as much as it stirs up the questions residing in the corners of
our souls. This creates a voracious hunger to know what-or Who-
is behind it.
With time and effort the local church can develop this type of communication
and become centers of cultural change.
There are four qualities of the church that can catalyze an artistic
The arts are the microphone to the world. If we can be trusted with the
lives of those who were born to paint, act, write, direct, dance and design, we
will take part in storytelling that draws people to God-our Creator.
The fire of our calling must sweep across this country and world to express
the message that will cause people to climb trees and demand to know "what is
behind this show?"
A Southern Baptist Convention entity supported by the Cooperative Program and theAnnie Armstrong Easter Offering® ©Copyright 2013 North American Mission Board, SBC