Wednesday, 16 May 2012
Below are the notes from my Spark talk at Luminous:
There is a literary term, ekphrasis, which is made up of the Greek words ek and phrasis, which are literally translated “out” and “to speak” respectively. When combined, they form the verb ekphrazien, which means to speak out, or proclaim.
In literature, ekphrasis poetry is writing in response to art.
Beyond literature, we know this conceptually in our own lives.
It’s why musicians are compelled to make music after hearing a great song, a writer picks up their pen after reading an epic tale and a painter picks up their brush after witnessing beauty.
In Genesis 2:23, we see man’s first word after being introduced to the newly formed woman.
this is now bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh, she will be called woman for she was taken out of man.
The man responded to the creation set before him in a poem acknowledging both the creation as well as the creator.
I experienced this in what I can only imagine as a far less intense way during a writing exercise at the University of Iowa, where I studied English. We were instructed to observe an art piece at the University’s Art Museum, and create a poem in response.
I chose to sit down in front of Jackson Pollock’s painting entitled Mural. As I observed the detail in the chaos, and the intricacies in the grandness of the piece, I began to experience a deep appreciation for the painting. But perhaps more importantly, I began to experience an appreciation of the artist.
Of course, responding to creation ultimately leads to us responding to the creator.
And this holds true in our lives. We encounter creation all the time, which means we are constantly presented with the opportunity to respond.
The questions we are faced with are: Will we take notice?
Will we respond?
We are invited into the Kingdom life and Kingdom work by the one who is making all things new. And we don’t wait to join God in the renewal of all things until we’ve honed our craft or attained a certain status.
We begin by taking notice.
We begin by responding.
The creative life force at work in us and around us, God’s good work, begs a response.
My prayer is this:
May we be a people who take notice, may we create the space needed in our hearts and lives to respond to his work, and may we do that by living lives full of awe, wonder, grace and mercy.