|A few minutes ago I was walking down Grand Street with a friend. As we passed by an old building with a garage door that was covered by a metal gate (I assume for security purposes), I noticed a uniquely colored, broken bottle with a note on it.
The note was what drew my attention and since I am a bit nosy, I decided to stop and read it. To my surprise a verse from Ecclesiastes was all that was written on the paper attached to the bottle. Then I noticed that just a few feet from the bottle was a small candle placed inside of a shell.
That was it…
That was not the end of me thinking about it though. In fact, now you and I are both thinking about it. Immediately, I wondered who put it there…why did they put it there…why Ecclesiastes…why the broken bottle…are the candle and the bottle related?
I could go on…
Art has this effect on people…it is a communicable seed that is planted into our minds. Sometimes the seed sown by art is similar to the seed in Jack in the Beanstalk and almost instantaneously it bursts forth with ideas, thoughts and messages. At other times, the seed sown by art is like the seed I planted nearly a year ago that has been forgotten and thrown away.
The bottom line is that art always communicates. The irony though is that art never fully communicates. I have learned this from my kids…they love to draw. Long ago, before they were accomplished 3, 7 and 10 year old artists, they would hand me a picture and I would look at it…turn it from side to side…pray for the gift of interpretation and finally just ask them, “What is it?”
I was always pleasantly surprised to find out what it was…
Similarly, I will never fully be able to interpret the bottle, candle and verse from Ecclesiastes without speaking to the artist. Even then, I will not fully comprehend what the artist had in mind.
In addition, each of us could look at the display of art independent of each other and at some point we will have a difference of opinion in regard to the meaning of the art. Imagine if we had the option to poll hundreds of people regarding their interpretation of the art and then come to our own individual conclusion about the meaning of the art OR simply go to the artist to learn the meaning of the art…
This Sunday we begin an 8 week series about the basics of Christianity. The title for the sermon is Ex Nihilo: The story of the Artist and His art. We will look closely at the Genesis 1 and John 1 in order to clarify where we can go for the best interpretation of the meaning of life. I will also have a picture of the bottle, candle and verse from Ecclesiastes…I’m pretty sure the picture will differ from your imagination.
I really hope you can come….
Next Friday we will be hosting an event at New Life called, “Ask an Atheist // Ask a Christian. Look here for more information: https://askanatheist.eventbrite.com/