A Christian Conservative Steps Forward into the Arts

Today’s scripture: Gal 4:1-7 (NRSV) (The Message) (KJV) What might God be saying to me?

My thoughts (Ernest Disney-Britton):

Would you be surprised to learn that a Christian conservative from Michigan created the world’s largest art competition? If so, you might also be surprised to learn that 2014’s winner of that competition was an Islamic cube created by an artist born in Pakistan. The event is called ArtPrize, and attracts more than 23,000 visitors each day to Grand Rapids, Michigan — including yours truly and my husband, Greg.

Rick DeVos, of the Amway family, created ArtPrize in 2008, and he is well known for believing in what things can be, and not just what they have always been. He’s not an artist, but he doesn’t need to understand or even agree with every aspect of the art fair’s operations to believe in letting it soar. Instead, he trusts that the spirit of the idea, and the foundation laid, will prevail. How do we develop that kind of faith?

That is the lesson of Galatians 4:1-7, in which Paul urges us not to live locked in old ways of knowing like a slave. He urges us instead to grow into the realization that we are now children of God, and free of the old bond while fueled by the same spirit. Jews of the ancient world followed rigid rules of the past, but Jesus’ birth, death, and resurrection opened the door to new freedoms for those with the faith to step forward.

This year ArtPrize will celebrate ten years of bringing a new light to the world through the fine arts. It’s a movement begun by a Christian conservative with the faith to step into his promised light. Greg and I go annually to experience the results of this faith. It’s an event at which the city’s congregations join with museums, restaurants, banks, stores, and offices to showcase the nation’s best in artistic talents. There’s nothing else like it in the USA, and it started with faith.

Thought for the day: Are you stuck living in the past, or do you have enough faith to create something new?

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the suggestions on the How to Pray page.