“It was the first time I realized that painting could capture the Word of God, speak into people’s lives and give me the opportunity to share my faith.”

Janice T. (Alliance & Short-term team member)

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Every day all around the globe, artists on mission are creating, cultivating, and contributing in their communities. As they seek to see their art used in the work the Lord is doing, we want to share their stories to encourage and inspire.
This blog is a place to read those stories, giving you a glimpse into how the Lord is using the arts around the world.
Tuesday, 06 December 2022 22:22

Hope and Peace Featured

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Hard as it is to believe, the Advent season is upon us. Over the next several weeks, we have the opportunity to take time to prepare our hearts to celebrate Christmas. Advent is meant to slow us down, to cause our hearts to focus on the attributes of God that find their fulfillment in Jesus Christ. 

If I’m being honest, this year I simultaneously feel unready for Advent and like I need it more than I ever have. Last week, I gathered with several hundred college students at a memorial service for one of their peers who died in a tragic car accident on Thanksgiving Day. Several days after, the pastor of a friend of mine passed away suddenly from a stroke. And several days after that, I learned of the passing of a dear local pastor after a long battle with cancer. Do you feel it? It almost seems unbearable to type – hopeless, despairing, tragic. I know that many of you have your own heartaches and struggles entering this Christmas season. There is sickness, death, violence, relational strife, and tragedy all around us.

It is for this reason that I feel a need to dive into the season of Advent more deeply this year. I also feel the tension between wanting to hold to what is true and wrestling with the sense that it doesn’t appear to be. The first week of Advent focuses on the theme of Hope, and the second on Peace. As I consider present circumstances, I can’t help but wonder, “What peace? What hope?”

And yet. And yet, I’m reminded that Jesus came in the midst of our broken and hopeless world. He was “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3). In His coming, “the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light” (Isaiah 9:2). Zechariah states that “the sunrise shall visit us from on high” (Luke 1:78). He came to be “Immanuel, God with us” (Matthew 1:23). It is here that our hope and peace is found – in the fact that God is with us wherever we might find ourselves.

Artists serve a unique role in the midst of all of this. I recently read a newsletter from an arts center, and their director said it well. She wrote, “But in seasons of waiting for this already-not-yet salvation, I have found that artists can help us expand and hold space for the grief of the world.”[1] Artists get to enter these spaces where we are longing for peace and hope and help us experience the moment we are in. And in that moment, two things can be true – life can be dismally difficult, and God can be our hope and peace in the midst of it. Not a transient peace or hope, but rather a hope and peace that abides.

This Advent season, may the Lord remind you of His presence with you, and may you experience the hope and peace only He can give. Take time to engage with good art and artists and see how the Lord might use it in your life.

 

[1] Shannon Sigler, Brehm Center

Last modified on Tuesday, 06 December 2022 22:27