by Daniel Gee
On November 25, 1963, just three days after the assassination of President Kennedy rocked America, conductor Leonard Bernstein spoke these words:
“We musicians, like everyone else, are numb with sorrow at this murder, and with rage at the senselessness of the crime. But this sorrow and rage will not inflame us to seek retribution; rather they will inflame our art...This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before.”
From Beirut, to Paris, to San Bernadino we too are reeling from the violence and sin all around us. Perhaps our inaugural Arts Display at Evergreen, then, could be seen as an act of artistic audacity that Bernstein describes above? Rightfully so. Nonetheless, I believe Christians have even more to say. Sin feels near. But we believe God has drawn nearer, and Advent is the time to say it: In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:4-5)
We as Christian artists choose to create, not simply because humanity is stubborn, but because we wish to proclaim in forms that speak beyond words that God has spoken the final word. It is peace on earth in the face of war. It is life in the face of death. It is justice in the face of tyranny. It is freedom for the captive. It is that, in the face of what seems like a godless world, God is with us.
Each piece in this year’s Arts Display proclaims Emmanuel in their own way. The stunning intricacy of Reiko Yoshimoto’s torn paper art, the deeply moving meditation on adoption by Janna Christian, the profound metaphor of incarnation in Jayne Terasawa’s “Light Descent”, highlight just a few of the wonderful submissions displayed this year. I encourage you to meditate on each work of art in our display and let them lead you into a deep and profound abiding with your God.
And so this will indeed be our reply to violence: that “God, in Christ, was reconciling the world to himself” (2 Cor. 5:19) The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. Our art will proclaim this audacious message of hope until He comes again and the faith of our humble artistry becomes sight.