Sunday, December 18, 2022

Skilled Craftsmen Entrusted with Vision

My heart leapt a bit this morning as I read Exodus 31. In this passage, the Lord is hand selecting two artisans, skilled and equipped with expertise. 

Why? Because He had commanded Moses to build the Tabernacle, the Ark, all of the furnishings, the beautiful priestly garments, the incense and altar - all with clear and precise instructions. And God had given ability and skills to these two individuals to get the job done.

I googled (such a new verb -- is it even fully acceptable and if so, should it be capitalized?) these differnt items and found numerous images of each. All of the depictions I discovered included the various detailed instruction and yet none of them were exactly the same! I found myself asking, "Which one looks exactly like what God was envisioning? Is it possible none are?" (Or perhaps they all are, given that God is not limited as we are.) 

I concluded this: I am confident that He delights in our creativity. It does not frustrate Him nor does it worry Him. It delights Him.

Art and its creation is a fascinating thing. As each individual is unique, so is the art they create, even when given the same exact descriptive instruction.

If you tell ten musicians to take a specific melody and harmonize it in the style of Bach it will result in ten different pieces, even when they all fulfill the required instructions.

When ten high school students are asked to write 4-5 paragraphs in the style of Dylan Thomas telling a story from their childhood, you have ten very individual stories.

Give ten different actors the very same script and ask them to prepare it for performance. You will be treated to ten various interpretations of that writing.

Ten graphic artists, when given the exact same task, will bring forth ten unique designs, each including the requirements.

And if you've watched American Idol, you know that every singer has their own rendering of any given song.

We are all so unique, so individual, so "made in His image" and the arts makes that clear. 

Interesting -- and possibly frustrating if we don't anticipate correctly -- that vision or imaginings in our own mind's eye, when imparted with detailed instruction, will be borne in a way unique to that individual.

A song is a great example of a creator's imagination (or vision) carefully written out with detailed instruction even down to the smallest nuance at times, and yet, each individual performance is unique. I wonder what Paul McCartney thinks of the many renditions of his beautiful song, Yesterday. Surely some bring a smile of pleasure and others make him groan a bit. 

Did those craftsmen I read about in Exodus, selected and chosen by God Himself, create exactly what God had envisioned in His mind? Or in fulfilling the instruction did their creation somehow reveal a unique interpretation of that instruction? I am confident that if the instruction was heeded God was pleased, even if the finished garment or statue didn't look exactly like His imagined design. 

In Exodus we learn something about the Master Creator. God entrusted specific design ideas and even detailed instruction to skilled craftsmen. Their final interpretation would be unique to them, but He delighted in that. 

He still does.