Recently I spent a few days with some key arts leaders from around the country in Las Vegas. Yes, we went to Vegas. Together we explored what the arts movement is all about, which boils down to Rediscovering Awe – the kind of awe those first believers experienced in the glorious days of the early church. Acts chapter 2 tells us that “Everyone was filled with awe.” During our morning session, I attempted to use words to describe my passion for why we long to see a sense of awe in all of our churches, to marvel in wonder at transcendent moments where people are more closely connected to God through the arts and teaching. But honestly, my words weren’t even close to adequate – I could not seem to match the compelling energy in my soul with the language coming out of my mouth. Then as a team, we all attended the Love show produced by Cirque de Soleil. And we experienced awe together that night.
If you haven’t heard about this latest offering from the Montreal genius Cirque team, I will attempt to explain it – but again, words are terribly weak and inadequate! Featuring a gorgeous soundtrack of the best of the Beatles, this multi-dimensional experience includes acrobatics, dance, and stunning visual displays woven together in a 90 minute non-stop glorious journey. We were all afraid to blink in case we missed something! I found myself gasping and whooping and stunned by what I was feeling throughout the show. The craftsmanship was staggeringly beautiful, with the Cirque team leveraging every resource their palate allowed. I can only say, “You must try to see this production!”
The next morning when our group gathered again, I confessed my frustration at my mediocre attempts to be a vision caster for awe the previous day. But then I pointed to what we experienced together at Love, and said, “That’s what I’m talking about!” We should feel moments like that in church – because all truth is God’s truth, and those who crafted the magnificent Love experience are men and women formed in the image of our Sovereign God, the Masterful Designer whose handiwork far surpasses anything that emanates from Montreal! Arts leaders in church may not have the budgets and stages like those of the Cirque team – but we have creative spirits, hearts that can hear the whispers of the Spirit, and skills we can employ toward the crafting of moments filled with wonder. Yes, gasping and whooping can happen on Sunday mornings when we harness our God-given gifts and apply ourselves diligently to telling His story. For that is what our friends at Cirque do not have – a compelling, redemptive, timeless, glorious story. What would happen if the best of the arts world was applied to God’s Story? A whole lot of gasping…and a rediscovery of awe.