Scribbling in the Sand, pages 109-110
"Creative Community in the Bible"
October 30th, 2019
"And I myself will be a wall of fire around it," declares the Lord,
"and I will be its glory within."
The Bible gives several examples of creative communities. In the Old Testament the music and craftsmanship of both tabernacle and temple worship came out of the community of artist-priests. Within the community of tabernacle craftsmen, Bezalel was the "master." As the phenomenon of prophecy grew, schools or families of prophets came together, presumably with the prophet of name as the master. Remember that Old Testament prophecy was almost certainly accompanied by music, so these prophetic schools were involved with prophetic music as well as words.
In the New Testament, as music passed from the professional priest-musician to the amateur lay-musician, ecclesia became the center for new hymnology, for corporate worship. Art and music were created in response to the needs of the community for new vehicles to contain its worship. The body of Christ became the repository for a vast wealth of creativity. Community called creativity forth. To encourage community is to encourage creativity. Art, music, mercy and every form of ministry seen in the body are responses to the needs of the community. The need for kindness, beauty and truth all cry out for the creative fingerprint in each of us to respond, to wash the feet of the brothers and sisters with our various creative gifts.
There are practical as well as spiritual reasons why creativity flourishes in community. Today's "industrial" approach to music and art by and large goes against this common-sense approach. The best way to view this stark difference is to compare the gifts of community to creativity against industry's denigration of the same gifts.
Gauguin says that when sailors have to move a heavy
load or raise an anchor, they all sing together to keep them
up and give them vim. That is just what artists lack.
(Vincent Van Gogh)