Thursday, 22 January 2015

A Glimpse of Beauty

La Fleuriste (work in progress) by Margaret Sonnemann

The purpose of Pilgrim Hill is to make disciples for Jesus through hospitality and art. Last week Thursday, our topic for the evening was "Beauty". Rather than giving a talk, Peirce invited three Christian artists to visit us at Pilgrim Dinners and give the guests a glimpse of how artists who follow the Great Artist in life and work think about and depict beauty. 

These three professional artists, Steve & Marion Isham and Margaret Sonnemann, brought oil paintings, thoughtful words and good company to the dinner. Steve spoke about finding beauty in depicting relationships (Steve's poetry blog is here). Marion showed us some pieces she is working on that celebrate the goodness and bravery of stories. 

Margaret brought her painting-in-progress of a girl she spotted selling flowers on a Paris street last year. Margaret has graciously given us permission to share her notes here.

I haven't been painting very long but I soon knew that I wanted to show beauty. I don't I have the skill and experience I need to portray all the beauty I see when I look at people doing every day things. Many very old paintings show Beauty in life, and even death, which gives us hope and shows meaning and that life is worthwhile. I want my paintings to let people see that we have a spiritual nature. We all have those moments where something you see or hear something, beauty, or a feeling like love causes you to realize that there is more to life and that makes it seem worthwhile. This beauty brings joy. We know the presence of another and higher world. It works against the ugliness we sometimes see around us. The Bible says that God's power and nature can be understood through what He has made. If creation is beautiful and even we can create beauty how beautiful is the Creator of everything? We are made to worship, to find joy in beauty, and if we don't worship the Creator then we will worship a creation like nature, ourselves or even beauty itself.

You can more of Margaret's thoughts on her blog.

The conversation-starter afterward was "Why do we care about Beauty?" Some moments that followed:

  • Peirce had a good chat with one of our regulars, a very thoughtful Japanese guy, about the only possible reason for beauty being God.
  • An Englishman, struck by the beauty of fractals, sought out Steve to talk through the possibility God is real. 
  • An American dinner-helper held two Israelis and a Frenchman in rapt attention with her story of the beauty of God’s forgiveness. She broke through their apathy and got them asking questions about connection to a personal God. 
It was undeniably a special evening, and we believe that the guests' hearts were touched by meeting these three Christians and seeing their love for God and His works in their art.