An Identity: Liturgical Artist

We are always trying to fit in, label ourselves, define our role. Our identity can be based on defining ourselves against something else - "I don't know what I am, but I know I'm not that." It almost becomes a process of elimination as we go through life. But once in a while, we find it. The right word, the right paradigm, the glove that fits. And we know - this is what we are made for.

Today, I had one of those moments. I've been trying to sort out how to combine my graphic design skills with my call to congregational ministry. How to link the two?

Liturgical Artist

Boom. I was at a workshop about worship spaces led by Soul Marks founder Carol Marples (check out her work!). She used the term to describe her own life's work as a tapestry weaver turned worship arts consultant.

The term artist can be intimidating, even to those of us with an art degree. "Artist" carries such weight, a sense that on-demand I can turn out the most creative idea you've ever heard of and a moment later perform it's execution, whether a design, painting, or drawing. Add that to the fact that ministry isn't just about me, it's about the whole Body of Christ serving our God, and I'm in a pickle. Yet, I can't minister without the arts and I can't make art without faith.

Carol Marples, of Soul Marks, led us in making origami boats, placed here on fabric representing the shoreline and depths of the sea. The boats were prayed over, carrying our hopes for the day. Based on the story of Jesus calling the disciples in Luke.

Carol Marples, of Soul Marks, led us in making origami boats, placed here on fabric representing the shoreline and depths of the sea. The boats were prayed over, carrying our hopes for the day. Based on the story of Jesus calling the disciples in Luke.

The beauty of "liturgical artist" is this: I'm not alone in it, I get to be artsy, and it's all for God. Liturgy is an ancient word meaning the work of the people. Liturgical art is never done solo. Even if I'm working alone in a studio (my teeny studio apartment that is) I have a rich group of artists and teachers influencing me as I draw on my art and theological training. Even more so, liturgical art is meant to be created by or at the very least experienced by the people. I can provide the idea and supplies and then facilitate the process of art-making for the body. Part of my creativity comes from integrative thinking - being able to connect seemingly unrelated things together. So how do we connect the liturgical season, the life of the congregation, and our image centric culture? What fun!

The bottom line is this: all of this work is for the glory of God (and yes that includes lament, more on that later). In my theology, that means participation and transformation are given priority over excellence. I don't expect any of these works to be acknowledged by the Art institution (museums, galleries, etc.), but I pray that they may guide other followers along their Way. 

To read more about why I created this website, and how to get the most out of it, please visit Vision.