2010: The Arts & Spirituality
January 3, 2010
2010: The Year of the Arts
Wade in the Water
Dance and music by Alvin Ailey
Then Miriam the prophetess … took a tambourine in her hand, and all the other women followed her with tambourines and dancing. Ex. 15:20
Joyful feelings in the heart or interior things erupted into various activities in the body, such as singing and also dancing. Since in ancient times the glad feelings excelling all others were spiritual ones, that is, feelings springing from affections belonging to spiritual kinds of love, which were affections for goodness and truth, people were allowed, when they engaged in singing and musical harmony, to dance as well and so in dancing also to bear witness to their joy. [AC 420 and 8339].
I encountered a central core of Swedenborg’s theology in a dream I had five years ago. In this dream, I was again a faculty member in our previous seminary [the Swedenborg School of Religion]. I was a new faculty member, and for the first time was involved in giving the senior students a comprehensive exam on Swedenborg’s theology. The first item on the exam was to pray. The students were scattered among several classrooms, and the faculty passed out written prayers to the students from various traditions. My task was to walk through the classrooms after a few minutes to see who was ready for the next part of the exam. I walked quietly, expecting to see students at their desks with bowed heads.
I was astounded at what I saw! The students were dancing and singing their prayers! Instead of taking the exam as individuals in isolation, the students in each room had formed a group. Each group had developed a different rhythm and melody and movements. All of the prayers were joyous and Spirit-filled. I was greatly uplifted as I saw these vibrant group prayers.
I suddenly realized that there never was anything else on the exam. If the students understood how to pray, then they had all they needed to know. If they realized that prayer could involve music and dancing, then they had grasped the essence of Swedenborg. Those students showed me, without words, what Swedenborg was all about.
I woke up stunned at the profound truth of my dream.
Since that dream, I have come to ponder questions such as:
What would it mean to pray with the wholistic integration of body, mind, and spirit?
How can we worship in such a wholistic way?
Can we pray and worship with and through the arts?
What is included in “the arts”?
What does Swedenborg say on these topics?
Can the arts be used to more deeply understand and live Swedenborg’s theology?
Here's a graphic of the questions: CLICK HERE
This is a day for me filled with computer problems! So I must cut short what I can upload. Perhaps that is good, since I hope we can explore ways of worship that are beyond or more than words.
feel free to use these quotations for meditation, prayer, journaling -- and posting to share with others.
Wilson Van Dusen
This chapter arises out of a split I feel in my own experience, a split that runs like an earthquake fault through our entire culture. For my whole life, I have enjoyed both mysticism and art. Most of the world sees these as different realms; however, my direct experience says they are the same thing conceived under different terms. There is some religious art that links art and religion, but this is only a small overlap. Not surprisingly, we will have to dig into the experience of art to see where it connects to religion and mysticism. So, for awhile, forget we are concerned with mysticism or religion. For the moment, we are in the realm of the beautiful. [Beauty, Wonder, and the Mystical Mind, p. 67]
I myself do nothing The Holy Spirit accomplishes all through me.
Joseph Chilton Pearce
We must accept that this creative pulse within us is God's creative pulse itself.
It is the creative potential itself in human beings that is the image of God.
|Topic: "Arts & Spirituality"|
By Rev. Wilma
01/03/2010 02:42p [Reply]
Can the arts be used to worship? Share any experiences, ideas, quotations.
By Susan Wood-Ashton
01/03/2010 09:57p [Reply]
"In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." So anything that we consider art, is already of God.
By Rev. Wilma
01/05/2010 04:13p [Reply]
Susan, I love that you quoted Genesis 1:1. That does seem to say it all, doesn't it?
By Bill Peters
01/03/2010 10:54p [Reply]
By Rev. Wilma
01/05/2010 04:14p [Reply]
Art is an expression of life! I guess that would make it worship, since all of life is worship!
By Page Morahan
01/07/2010 10:20p [Reply]
Art - encompassing all the senses - sound, sight, touch, smell - and movement - enriches our experience of the immensity of higher power.
By Coco Nut
01/10/2010 01:18a [Reply]
If Divine influx is in all of our senses, then it seems that the more senses we use in worship, the deeper the experience will be.