If you are drawn to a sacramental view of this world, centered upon the incarnation of Christ in the flesh, you will appreciate the worship-stirring perspective that The Ecumenism of Beauty gives voice to. If you like to sit and think, this book will satisfy your craving for deeper knowledge on the subject of Christian art from a variety of angles.
I don’t think I’m the only one longing for “home”. But when we break it down, what are we really wanting?
“Lord, what you do not do remains undone.
If you will not help, I will gladly surrender.
The cause is not mine.
I will happily be your mask and disguise,
if only you will do the work. Amen.”
— Martin Luther
I recommend this relatively short read to not only any lover of Hopkins’ work, but anyone who wants to see Christ more clearly in the world around them as Hopkins did. I would not be surprised if he possessed this vision more clearly than anybody else in history.
We have spoken of art as a means to enrich the imagination as we turn towards God, allowing us to connect with him more honestly and with understanding. Religious poetry shapes us in this way also, if not even more directly. Hopkins, Donne, Dickinson, and many of the Romantics–who even without intension speak of God’s world as if stripping a veil–have been my gateway to a sacramental appreciation for life. I would like to think that spiritual sensitivity did not end with them.
Perhaps an image immediately comes to mind when I speak of feasting your eyes on art. For instance, the captivating gaze of Girl With a Pearl Earring, or the striking color palette of a Matisse. Now take this same idea and think of feasting on God–mulling his characteristics over in different lights, and celebrating our dance of living in response to God’s presence. This is the opportunity that sacred art offers. Respected art historian Timothy Verdon has dedicated his masterful work Art and Prayer to helping us receive sacred art as a gateway to prayer.
Hooray for crafting that does not require pre-existing skills! To this end Harvest is a compendium of ideas, a little taste of everything, and a way to dabble in DIY to find out what interests may surprise you.
“I have often been asked if my Christianity affects my stories, and surely it is the other way around; my stories affect my Christianity, restore me, shake me by the scruff of the neck, and pull this straying sinner into an awed faith.” ~Madeleine L’Engle
For a knitting book with stunning photography, even more stunning designs, and fresh challenges to cozy up with in the New Year, look no farther than Knitting from the North. Scottish designer Hilary Grant has earned her place as mine, and many others, knitting hero. Grant first learned to knit from her mother and has stayed true to her Scottish roots while revolutionizing traditional northern techniques into Runway worthy designs. In fact, her work has been exhibited at Paris Fashion Week twice now. Her personal investment in her knits makes her relateable to any of us who have born a knitted creation out of love. She designs each work “stitch by stitch” in her private workshop before partnering with a local manufacturer, and finishes each piece by hand.
As the long nights descend and the trees grow naked, Advent waits in the marrow of winter’s chill despite the twinkling lights. It is a season of stripping away, even, some might say, of death. It is out of this barrenness that Gayle Boss bore All Creation Waits. Behind the dull cloak of winter green things sprout and new life bulges, it is but the hush before a new beginning.