Anglican Morning Devotion for 1 September 2021 Anno Domini
A Ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it.” (Psalm 90:17; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (Philippians 4:8)
The Art of Man, from its early inception, has been to imitate the beauty of God’s Creation and to preserve on canvas or stone. The primitive artists did his dead-level best in that regard even if the images were crude and disproportionate to reality. As skill and technical insight improved, those images of the natural beauty of God’s Creation began to take more realistic form. The treasures of ingenious artistry were flung wide open at the onset of the Renaissance period. Michelangelo, Rembrandt, Raphael, and Giotto di Bondone led the way in the production of the essence of beauty in art. Perhaps the greatest of the High Renaissance artist was Leonardo da Vinci who pioneered in many artforms and techniques. His greatest painting, and perhaps the greatest of all time, was his Last Supper of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Last Supper employed a number of first in art – 1) it captured a moment in time depicting action; and 2) it utilized a new technique in art known as ‘point perspective’ in which the viewers attention is drawn to the central figure that the artist wishes to high light.
There is little question about it – it is the inspiration of God that led in the creation of great works of art and the beauty conveyed thereby. As the wicked hearts of man contemplated this new revelation of beauty and brooded over what could be done to mar that beauty, they came up with an approach called ‘abstract art.’ This form of art in no wise appeals to the higher emotions or sentiments of beauty and love. The natural beauty of God is marred by the deformity and unnatural depictions of human and other natural creatures of God. A few years ago I wrote a poem that I hope appeals to the beauty and good needs of God.
THE ART OF GOD
I wander down the silver strands that line the endless seas.
I feel the warmth of crystal sands and cherish all that breathes.
My heart, a solitary stone, that knows no joys or griefs,
Except the touch of briny foam that bathes the fragile reefs.
The mystery of celestial lights that gleam from East to West
are signals from immortal heights adorning Angels’ breasts.
The artful Hands, divine and dear, that form the hallowed scenes,
are hands that cause the heart to cheer with love’s sweet gentle beams.
I never knew a better time to thank the Lord of Love,
Or call to memory’s fading mind The gift of Light above.
The Eastern wind a tribute pays to distant lands and tongues,
and I stand all alone, amazed, at God’s eternal suns.
I am not Longfellow or Tennyson, but the simple beauty of nature should dominate the thoughts of the artist whether on paper, stone, or canvas. If we love God and the inherent beauty of His Creation, we should do our best to render that beauty in whatever artform with which the Lord has graced us.
When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?