Many years ago I was reading the CD cover of one of my favorite musical artists. I always loved to read the words and enjoyed the design of the insert. In this case, the pages were full of abstract art.
At that point in my life, I had only recently come to appreciate the abstract. I used to see abstract art as just a bunch of meaningless shapes and colors. I couldn’t understand how it was even called art. I preferred art that spelled it out for me…understandable landscapes and realistic portraits.
However, at that point in my journey, the abstract began to make more sense to me and I reveled in finding meaning hidden within shape, light, color, symbolism and mystery.
Pat answers and everything laid out all nice and neatly seemed lifeless and unhelpful. There is, of course, a kind of order to the universe, but there is also random beauty all around us. Think about the beauty of a jagged edge of a mountain peak, the white ruffled curve of a wave breaking onto shore, the random way that branches and leaves grow on a tree?
We may be tempted to look to God only for explanations and answers. We might want everything to be cut and dried, understandable and clear-defined. I can’t say that I have always enjoyed mystery. Waiting and feeling out of control are uncomfortable. But I am growing more comfortable with not knowing, with “letting” God be who he is, with non-answers. I’m learning to enjoy the abstract-art-nature of things.
The abstract offers me the chance to meet with God at new levels. The journey can grow even more personal. It’s like when two people look at the same piece of abstract art and see two different meanings. There is a personalization of my experience of God, which draws me even closer to him.
God interacts with each of us uniquely and personally. Jesus interacts in a unique way with so many people in the gospels—the blind beggar, the bleeding woman, the rich young ruler, the woman at the well, the paralyzed man. He treated each one with respect. Jesus met them exactly where they were and gave them so much more than they were asking for.
It can be difficult to open ourselves to the mystery of God’s complete and utter holiness. God’s vastness precludes wrapping my mind around all of who he is. This might frustrate some, but I find a kind of comfort in embracing God’s immensity—his mystery. I can just let myself get lost in God’s vast expanse. I can find peace in being small in his presence.
How do you experience abstract art? What draws you in? What do you resist?
How do you feel about the vastness of God?
What is one way you might become a little more open to mystery today?