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Humankind has a need to serve God with beauty

I was asked to sermonize about music as prayer, so here's a sermon about art.

Humankind has a need to serve God with beauty.

There was an artist I interviewed 25 years ago, who survived the Nazi occupation of Holland.
Jack Vanderwal had an exhibition in Kentville, Nova Scotia, and the paintings were stunning: huge, dynamic canvases full of field flowers.
He talked about how he was self-taught, and that he had no faith in the current methods of art instruction because, for him, they no longer reflected a moral universe.
I remember thinking that if I were a painter, I would paint big, like Vanderwal; fearless broad brushstrokes, lots of colour.

Three years ago, I bought a large, blank canvas.
Finally, with my kids away last week and other work done, I sat down on Sunday afternoon to paint it.
Convinced, as I was, that I was making a mess, the time passed very, very quickly. But when I finally stood back to look, it was the right kind of mess. It had a glimpse of the aliveness I rem…

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