Arts, Crafts and Music

When considering our personal response to the concept of the Trinity, one of the most difficult ideas to communicate, accept and achieve is spiritual balance in our human lives. Just as we have personal friends, each of us tends to direct our spiritual attentions at one of the persons of God: the Creator (Father), Jesus (the Son) or the (Holy) Spirit; for example, through whom we address intercessory prayer. In this singular focus we are incomplete spiritual beings. God wants us to be open to a balanced spiritual life in each of His revelations. We can learn to appreciate the views and works of Christians with a different Trinitarian focus than ourselves, and know that their experience of God is no less valid than our own. The value of the 3-Color description of the Trinity is for our ease of recognizing the direction we each need to develop towards achieving a better balance with all of God. Being human, each of us can’t obtain perfect balance, but in community Christians can be a spiritually balanced force of giftedness for bringing God’s love and healing to the world.

Having created us, God knows our limited capabilities for working toward the growth of the Kingdom, and will choose to focus the gifts given to each of us in more narrow areas. In the two previous parts of this series within the (green) Creator dimension of ministry we defined Spiritual Gifts of Giving, Hospitality, Mercy, Voluntary poverty (social Wisdom gifts) and Knowledge, Organization, Wisdom (mind Wisdom gifts). The last set of Wisdom gifts may be those most visible and appreciated, not only within the church, but in the world as well. These are the Spiritual Gifts for our creative potential.

The gift of Artistic Creativity is expressed through a wide number of forms such as composition, dance, decoration, design, drama, music, painting, pottery, sculpture, or writing. Its forms are a means to the end of expressing an idea or feeling. Scripture: Exodus 31:1-11; also 2 Sam.6:12-16, 1 Kings7:14. Within worship, this gift can have a profound impact because it is capable of evoking in us strong feelings as well as our appreciation of beauty, execution or concept. While all spiritual gifts benefit from training and experience, artistic gifts will greatly glorify God by individual efforts for their improvement, as long as they do not solely become self-promotion for the artist.

Craftsmanship is a creative gift with focus in the “practical arts.” A broad collection of skills, including building, carpentry, cooking, crafts, electrician, gardening, glazier, maintenance, mechanic, sewing, stone mason, and even “odd jobs,” the use of these as spiritual gifts is distinguishable from hobbies and professions by the joy in, and love of, service towards others who have a need of them, but not always a means for them. Building up the Body of Christ with these gifts might include directing others in this service. Scripture: Exodus 30:22-31; also 2 Kings 12:11-13, 2 Chron.34:9-13, Acts 18:3.

The gift of Music is more specifically the performance of the artistic creativity of composers/lyricists. Music (singing and instrumental) is mentioned so much more frequently in scripture than other art forms that its use appears to have special qualities for us to relate to God. Scripture: 1Sam.16:14-23; also Deut. 31:14-23, 1 Chron.16:41-42, 2 Chron. 5:12-14, Psalm 150, 1 Cor.14:26, Eph. 5:18-20, Col. 3:15-17. Some lists of spiritual gifts do not have music, or any other form of artistic expression, perhaps to avoid discrimination or the distracting potential for self-adulation. Its importance, however, is often implied or expressed within other spiritual gifts for illumination (Faith), motivation (Exhortation), and sharing (Evangelism).

One reason for beginning this series of brief spiritual gift explanations with the Wisdom gifts (color: green/associated with the Creator person of the Trinity) is the potentially more familiar aspect they hold for our church. What, we’re a “green” church? Did you know church denominations have tendencies to “favor” their gift expression towards one of the three persons in the Trinity? Natural Church Development research reveals mainline protestant churches have a greater affinity for Kingdom work by social action and liberal causes, thus their development of/attraction to people who use Wisdom gifts. Geographical/cultural differences affect the degree of this denominational affinity (by human influences), and also any church often includes in its constituency a wider variation of giftedness and spiritual styles than the prevailing affinity (by Godly influence).

The denominational tendencies of the other two spiritual gift dimensions can be found among faith traditions of “evangelicals” (color: red, associated with Jesus) and “charismatics” (color: blue, associated with the Spirit). Before we conclude we already have our “appropriate” gift niche at PUMC, and need no further study of “others,” let’s recall God’s intent that we as a church nourish all gifts within our body, as God has placed them in service along with us. Next month we will begin to examine a different dimension of ministry (Red!) for spiritual gifts, one that expresses our commitment towards God’s purposes in the world. Discover your gifts through sign-up at the Connection Point!

Originally publish in The CHIMES as, “SPIRITUAL GIFTS – WHAT ARE THEY (Part 3)?