To see the world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wildflower. Those are lovely sentiments from the brilliant 19th century poet William Blake–some folks may even take inspiration from them. But few of us actually are changed by such words. They simply strike our fancy for a moment, as we smile at their profundity. Then our thoughts eventually turn back to the problems and annoyances of daily life. One expects that William Blake well knew the impotency of words in manifesting change in others, and thus penned his lofty verse simply for himself–a way of honoring his personal relationship with God and celebrating the magnificence of creation.
As we’ve elevated famous artists to the rank of nobility, enshrining their works in museums, immortalizing their lives in books, and lavishing them with money and praise, we have forgotten that art is ultimately a democratic endeavor to be pursued by everyone–for it is through art (be it painting, writing, sketching, crafting, building, carving, sewing, or what have you) that we grow closer to God and begin to truly see the world as He sees it–a co-creator within His creation.
When we work diligently, patiently, and lovingly at our art/craft (whatever that may be), we slowly approach that destination which the novelist Lawrence Durrell said was the ultimate goal of all true artists: developing a personality which transcends art. This transcendent personality is the one we find realized in Jesus of Nazareth, who having achieved union with the Father thru Christ not only saw heaven in a wildflower but in every living thing, including the worst sinners among us.
It was then by the force of that personality (and not his words alone) that Jesus became a “fisher of men,” truly capable of transforming the lives of others.
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