Artists as priests and sense sharpeners

“The artist stands at the head of the people to offer on their behalf a sacrifice of praise.  It’s a priesthood because, first, they stand before us.  We feed them, support them, put them up there, and then they produce a prayer on behalf of all of us that takes the form of making, not speaking. . . . They make a response to God from us and God gives a gift of revelation back through them.”
—Barbara Nicolosi, “The Artist: What Exactly Is an Artist, and How Do We Shepherd Them?”, in For the Beauty of the Church, p. 113

~~~

“Consider two lists of verbs that describe what happens in worship:

List A: seeing, listening, touching, gesturing, smelling, imagining, speaking, singing
List B: praising, lamenting, confessing, thanking, being, convicted, being inspired, being comforted

List A are verbs that focus on embodied sensory experience, the rudiments of artistic production and reception.  These words are not unique to worship.  They are building blocks for all human actions.  We can not worship without these verbs.  And they are the reason that the arts matter in worship:  the arts elevate, deepen, and sharpen each of these basic sensory actions and prime them as acts of worship.”
John D. Witvliet, “The Worship: How Can Art Serve the Corporate Worship of the Church?”, in For the Beauty of the Church, p. 55

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One Response to Artists as priests and sense sharpeners

  1. familyarchives says:

    “The artist stands at the head of the people to offer on their behalf a sacrifice of praise.  It’s a priesthood because, first, they stand before us.  We feed them, support them, put them up there, and then they produce a prayer on behalf of all of us….”

    I understand what you are writing, and in today’s post-modern world the only vocabulary left me permissible I guess I must agree, but

    Hmmmm. Perhaps that is the way the priest is seen from the pew, in front of the “us,” and that “we” feed “them” etc., but there is another of understanding, that of the poor priest standing at the altar, that does not put the priest at the “head” (=leader in the Western mind), but at the feet, and if that is not seen, that one is not a priest, but….hmmmm… I don’t know after being a priest for over 40years now…. I hope I was never seen as the leader— it was never a part of my original vocation, and was never what my ordination vows promised. The priest is (was) not called by the people, of the people, for the people’s approach to God, but called by God, to be his servant to wash the feet of the people he always loved, to be God’s priest, on His behalf to his people. The priest is not the people’s leader put there by them, but God’s servant, put there by Him for his people, as was Christ, who came not to lead, but to serve. Just thinking.

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