Light in the Darkness

Jan 12, 2021 | Church Rhythms | 0 comments

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What do we do when the world feels uncertain? When our path seems unclear?

The Bible offers us a model in the Psalms of how to carry our pain, worry, distress, uncertainty, fears, and anxieties to God.

Lament is crying out to God in our sadness, anger, and pain and asking God to fix it. Most of the Psalms of lament turn to hope, but Psalm 88 sits in grief and it isn’t until Psalm 89 that the Psalmist’s perspective changes.

But I, O LORD, cry to you;
in the morning my prayer comes before you.
O LORD, why do you cast my soul away?
Why do you hide your face from me?
Afflicted and close to death from my youth up,
I suffer your terrors; I am helpless.
Your wrath has swept over me;
your dreadful assaults destroy me.
They surround me like a flood all day long;
they close in on me together.
You have caused my beloved and my friend to shun me;
my companions have become darkness.

The Psalms show us how to bring our emotions into worship. Songwriter Wendell Kimbrough says that, “What we don’t bring into worship doesn’t get formed by Jesus. I want to be able to bring my immature anger to church and have it formed and shaped by liturgy… I’m feeling all this stuff, but I don’t know what to do with it. I needed the container of the psalms, the language, to form this anger into something that wasn’t sinful, rebellious, or distant from God.” 

As artists, part of living out our calling is creating. Even when we’re sad, angry, anxious and fearful. King David, the attributed author of many of the Psalms, was an artist after all – a poet, a musician.

I encourage you to see your creativity as light. Light in a world of darkness. Light inspired by God’s truth, God’s goodness and beauty. Epiphany is the season of light – the light of the world coming to save us and meeting with the Magi. As our hearts are formed in worship, we become more like Jesus. We become the light to the world. Part of our calling as artists is to use our creativity to share that light with our churches and communities, be it in person and local or online with your friends on social media.

So what do we do when the world feels uncertain? When our path seems unclear?

We worship God, privately and corporately, reading scripture and liturgy, singing and songwriting, painting and dancing, baking and gardening in response to the Word. This is our spiritual warfare: creativity, inspired by our union with God. We bring all our worries to the God who created us, bring it to Him in worship and let Him form our hearts and let the Spirit inspire our creativity and release it back into the world so that we might inspire others.

This is why the Enemy wants you to think you have no song to write, no story to tell, no painting to paint. He wants to quiet you. So sing. Let the Word by which the Creator made you fill your imagination, guide your pen, lead you from note to note until a melody is strung together like a glimmering constellation in the clear sky. Love the Lord your God, and love your neighbor, too, by making worlds and works of beauty that blanket the earth like flowers. Let your homesickness keep you always from spiritual slumber. Remember that it is in the fellowship of saints, of friends and family, that your gift will grow best, and will find its best expression. And until the Kingdom comes in its fullness, bend your will to the joyful, tearful telling of its coming. Write about that. Write about that, and never stop.  
Andrew Peterson, Adorning the Dark 

Catherine Miller is a songwriter in Tallahassee, Florida, serving the local church as an organist and pianist in Thomasville, GA. She really started getting into songwriting when she met Henry. Henry writes poetry and Catherine enjoys writing melodies, and the two have collaborated ever since.

 

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