Why would a church which emphasizes discipleship at its core want to elevate arts and those whose skill and passion create painting, music, and literature? Author Frederick Buechner links the provocative nature of art to the teaching of Jesus:
the most basic lesson that all art teaches us is to stop, look, and listen to life on this planet, including our own lives, as a vastly richer, deeper, more mysterious business than most of the time it ever occurs to us to suspect as we bumble along from day to day on automatic pilot. In a world that for the most part steers clear of the whole idea of holiness, art is one of the few places left where we can speak to each other of holy things.
It is this heightened awareness of life, the world, culture, and truth that we seek to awaken and offer to God. Not only to experience pleasure in the encounter, but to open ourselves to the possibility of transformation which both art and the teaching of Jesus have in common.
“Next to the Word of God, music deserves the highest praise,” wrote Martin Luther. “I would gladly see all arts, especially music, in the service of him who has given and created them.”
Music used to worship God requires the best we have to give. With a diversity of ages and accomplished skills we draw upon a long tradition of sacred music and contemporary songs to offer our praise and celebration of God. Visit the Music Ministries page for more information.
Churches like ours — which are word-oriented — approach worship primarily as a cognitive activity. Yet, as G. K. Chesterton observed, there is a road from the eye to the heart that does not go through the intellect. Seasonal visual arts in our sanctuary exercise our intuitive and imaginative capacity as acts of worship and grow our experience with God.
Visual Arts: The Gallery at First
We use our sanctuary entrance and primary hallway as a gallery to provide an artistic representation of the world. Through this display of visual arts we increase our capacity to bring our whole selves to God in worship and inspire our service of God in the world. The Gallery at First hosts quarterly exhibits of art. Our current show is Illusion: Traditional Methods and Contemporary Conceptions – Three Oil Painters from the Russian River Atelier.
Film: Movie Discussion Group
We believe that the films we view together are valuable as a window of insight into the heart of our postmodern culture and as a point for discussing things that matter. Through storytelling we see into the heart and imagination of humanity. More than ever, our stories conveyed through cinema are touchstones for our postmodern culture because they address the deepest questions of life. Movies we screened recently include: The Intern, Bridge of Spies, Cafe Society, and The Reluctant Fundamentalist. Our next Movie Discussion Group meeting is Friday, May 12 at 6:30 p.m. when we view and discuss La La Land.