Day has begun...

Today is mostly devoted to getting ready for Sunday's celebration of Pentecost. We've had a small crew of visual artists working on a "descending dove" sculpture for about a month - they constructed it our of the prayer requests of the congregation - and we'll suspend it tonight.

+ A variety of musicians - classical, folk and jazz - will be sharing their gifts on Sunday, too: a stunning choral meditation on the Holy Spirit, a touching Keith Green song as well as our reworking of "Message in the Bottle" by the Police.

+ The Sunday school has created a three dimensional banner portraying the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit and others have made pin wheels for the front lawn out of recycled "stuff" to evoke a sense of the Spirit of the Lord blowing where she will.

+ There will be young and old - male and female - conservative and progressive all together. Some will speak in French and others in German, some in Spanish and some in Russian and one will share a little Chinese, too.

So, it is clear, the day has begun - and some might wonder if all this work, creativity and coordination matters. It clearly doesn't immediately advance the cause of compassion. It does nothing to challenge the wars. And the politicians won't even know what we're doing. So, on one level, who cares?

On another level, however, something beautiful is being done for the Lord - and that beauty and creativity brings a little healing to our wounded culture. As Gregory Wolfe, of IMAGE Magazine is known to say: the healing and transformation of culture is far more lasting than politics. In a recent interview, Wolfe put it like this:

... there are two forces that are diametrically opposed in the world: ideology and imagination. The ideologue is somebody who has a closed system of abstract certainties about the world that results in pride and a loss of connection to reality. So, the ideologue has to impose his vision on the world more by violence than by persuasion.

Imagination is an awareness of reality outside of ourselves and our limited natures, the difficulty of being able to comprehend not only the mysteries of the universe, but even the full ramifications of political and social action. Imagination cultivates a sense of our contingent nature as human beings and seeks humility before that mystery... And what moves people's hearts? I think it is in the great stories and images that we are able to discover who we really are - the political process involves debate - but the meaning of that debate begins in art and culture. So if you reduce everything to technocratic and political/economic terms, you lose the capacity to move anyone. That's why I was drawn toward the effort to renew the twin wellsprings of culture: art and faith.

Me, too, brother Wolfe, me too.


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