“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.

Joy, a profound reality bathed in suffering, rooted in touchable hope

“Joy to the world! The Lord is come. Let earth receive her King!” We sing.

“He came to that which was His own, but His own did not receive Him” (John 1:11).

The innocent newborn baby’s cry which gave tremendous joy to His parents mourns for the betrayal, the humiliation, the crucifixion, and Jesus’s own burial merely three decades later.

I wonder, if Mary and Joseph had known this beforehand, would that cry of baby Jesus bring joy?

But the angel said, “[…] I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people” (Luke 2:10).

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased.”

- Luke 2:13-14 

It was not a silent night.

A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices

For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn

- “O Holy Night,” Adolphe Adam

This refrain from the popular Christmas carol “O Holy Night” has been on my heart recently. As I have considered Advent, the season of preparing one’s heart for Christmas, in light of this year’s events, it seems the world needs this season more then ever. With the ever-present reality of COVID-19, increasing political tensions, extended periods of isolation, a rise in focus on racial reconciliation, and rescheduled and cancelled plans, 2020 has seemed bleak, indeed. And yet, here in the very thick of the anxiety and heartache is the season of Advent, reminding us of the beautiful reality of the birth of Christ.

In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

- 1 Thessalonians 5:18

For many around the world, this is the week of the Thanksgiving holiday, during which there is an increased focus on thankfulness. As I considered what I wanted to say in this article, I found myself hitting a bit of a wall. “Yes, Lord,” I thought, “But what about saying something about how hard things are this year? Is there a way I could creatively talk about thanksgiving that might make people feel better? What about those of us who just aren’t feeling that thankful this year?” I started considering Scripture passages about thankfulness, and I was struck by this commonly known (but no less beautiful) verse in 1 Thessalonians. And then a bit of tough love hit me. The verse does not say, “In everything give thanks….but, when there has been almost a year of COVID, division, anxiety, depression, and other things, then you don’t have to be as thankful. Also, if you don’t feel thankful, you can skip it altogether.” No, it simply says “in everything give thanks” (emphasis mine). It even goes on to say that this is God’s will for us! However you slice it, there is no easy way of getting around this verse – we are meant to give thanks to the Lord regardless of what our circumstances may be.

Occasionally, when we tell others we do arts ministry, we get raised eyebrows. Often, the questions boil down to, “Why art?” One of our favorite answers to that within Inspiro is: “Because the Gospel is beautiful.”

Recently, our world has been reeling as we have been brought face to face with the stark reality of racism. The truth that many of our brothers and sisters around the world have had to deal with this reality their entire lives is sobering and hopefully prompts us to engage in meaningful conversations, take time to listen and seek to understand, and consider how the Lord might desire us to respond. We caught up with Whitney Peck, a musician serving the Lord in Albania, to ask her some questions about her story and experiences.