What is in the quest for beauty, for what is art? What is it but the search for God and to feel his touch upon us? What, but love can soften the hardness and heal what ails us? A warm wind that soothes our body and restores our souls from the chill of the night coldness black, a rising sun of rays upon our face in the midst of the toils and pain that we ache to leave in the passing night.
It is in the natural things, of the air surround, the sky, the grass and trees, of the lakes and rivers, streams and oceans wide. The valleys down from mountainside high, the wide plains and forests thick of winding paths for which we find. From there we can find beauty.
From the touch, the glance, a smile and slight look away, the turning of a head and the eyes upon us, lifted to sky. The embrace. The fulfillment of longing, the fingers slight upon one’s arm, the hand rested upon us in care.
It is to the heavens, the rising and reaching, the loneliness of space, the harrowing of one’s soul, the emptiness that aches to be filled of the sun’s rays above, the warm embrace of God to cure the curse of darkness.
The songs, the aching choir of voices sung, raised to the skies above, the spires, the capture of a look, a touch, a love, our earth, our place in it and our home.
Art is all to reach a oneness in our fitful, futile attempt to be at home with God, to touch Him and to feel Him upon us. To the glory of Him, to raise our art to please Him, to sanctify Him with words, with songs, by paint of brush or a sonnet on parchment for all times forever long. It is to eternity that we reach.
It is our forgiveness and love that He most seeks, our humility and gratitude that is found in our embrace of His final coming home to heaven sent. Find art, find beauty, find love and forgiveness. And find Him and His love.
It is in the merging of God, nature, beauty and love that we find the greatest expressions of art the world has ever seen. From paintings to poetry to literature, to music and architecture we reach for Him in that moment of glory, we are almost as one. The awe and wonderment that we experience is of the highest form of worship.
As written of the great 19th century English landscape artist John Constable, he had one purpose according to biographer James Hamilton,
“In this reflection Constable reveals what he considered to be the highest purpose of the art to which he was himself struggling, and which we can read as his insight, to merge the force of art with the power of God and nature.”
As it was with music, Bach who wrote that “the aim and final end of all music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul.”
Two closing stanzas, a struggling self-attempt and then a stanza from one of the greatest poets in the English language:
I blink in wonderment of God’s art,
of which we glimpse but a hint,
but to amaze and rejoice and lift
one’s brush, one’s voice, one’s pen.
To praise Him, to please Him, for Him.
So humbly, woefully, artfully we try.
Why art but to remind us all of His glory?
To end with Gerard Manley Hopkins:
And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.