My name is Garet Ellis and I am the pastor of a new church plant, Christ Community Lutheran Church –Leesburg- and Leesburg Open Arms in Virginia.. I was recently asked to write about some of the ways we are incorporating “visual arts” into our worship and school communities.
Now, from the outset, I must say that it is hilarious that I am writing in a forum such as this. I have a great appreciation for the arts in all of their forms. But if I am being honest, I have zero talent when it comes to art. My stick figures are lopsided. My coloring is abysmal. And my ability to draw is as good as my ability to speak Mandarin Chinese; I can’t do either.
Now when we study the Scriptures, look at creation, and learn about God, we see that there is a rich creativity in the One who is the creator of all things. Consider the tulip. It is (in my opinion) one of the most beautiful flowers out there, a sure sign that winter is over and spring is here. Had I been tasked with creating the tulip, there would have only been one color. But God, in His infinite wisdom and beauty, decided to paint the tulips of the field with all of the colors of the rainbow.
But unfortunately, and I am guilty of this too, sometimes we take the creative beauty of God and hide it. Like my single-colored tulip, we sometimes don’t allow the full beauty of God to be expressed. We make God to be one dimensional and rather simple.
So knowing this about myself, knowing that I prefer to be a bullet-point teacher, and knowing that we live in a hyper-visual world, it is important to me to offer a variety of ways for people to see, hear, touch, and experience the love and grace of God. This, I think, is the fundamental role of churches and pastors. And so this idea plays out in a variety of ways in my personal and professional life. I’d like to highlight 3 ways that this has come to life in my new congregation and school.