Heaven Down To Earth - Words of Spiritual Guidance
by Rev. Paul Werner
Chapter 12 - The Arts
Magnificent creations have been produced through the mediums of art, music, drama, dance, and literature; God projects His heart into them, ever extending their boundaries. If we are cut off from such splendor or do not realize their capacity to change us, how can we possibly experience God to the fullest extent? Something within us must be able to appreciate the enchantment of music, the creativity of the many forms of art, the expression of drama, dance, and the richness of the written word. We need to branch out our education in these directions in order to uncover some of the hidden language through which God speaks to us.
There is interrelationship between art, literature, music, dance, and drama. As you read a book you no doubt simultaneously hear music, experiencing crescendos and even detecting pianissimos depending upon the journey which the story takes. The same is true when you see a painting. Have you ever heard the sound a beautiful picture projects? Certain people go to a museum and sit for hours on end, becoming totally captivated by one solitary picture. God can introduce new facets of His heart into a single painting or sculpture if an artist is astute enough to catch and blend them into his masterpiece. A painting also contains music; God conducts a symphony which the artist attempts to weave into his tapestry of brushstrokes. However, a concert hall echoes more than concertos and minuets; within her walls many people have been spellbound by the strains of music which awakened and flashed across their minds quite different visions of Bald Mountain, the Danube, and the New World.
When you read the Principle, do you hear the symphony played by heaven's orchestra? Have you seen sketches of God's history -- the portrait of Moses parting the Red Sea, the depiction of Abel's death, or the scene of Jesus on the Mount? Is the entire scene acted out on the stage in your mind? Develop the ability to listen to this music with your spiritual senses and see it with your spiritual eyes. Even as you are embraced by literature, drama, art, or music, with practice your five spiritual senses will eventually be able to smell grass and the perfume emitted by flowers as you read about them. You will be able to feel the waves of the ocean lapping at your legs and be refreshed by cascading sea spray just by looking at a painting of such a scene. In order to embrace the creation, allow your senses to open totally.
It seems as if all heaven rejoices when Haydn's The Creation is played. The harmony of a multitude of heavenly choirs blends to proclaim the glory of God. Listen to the sound of heaven as it comes down to earth.
A great painter is able to produce a beautiful piece of art only if he develops his ability to connect with and feels the essence of whatever he is going to paint. When he totally unites with its soul, he is able to produce details that no one else would even consider. He may incorporate shadows and blend shades of color and tints that no other artist will ever repeat. Certain people in history have never been matched for the kind of nuances of life they experienced and then expressed through the arts.
A whole new culture has developed since the time of Jesus. The gradual decline of Christianity and the deterioration of moral standards, gave rise to surrealism and expressionism. Colors thrown against a canvas in haphazard fashion have become the paintings of today. But even they are definite expressions of the soul. The majority of people no longer consider Jesus as the center of life. Also, the human body no longer occupies the central position in the art world. Compared to the spiritual fabric which constituted the art of yesterday, I feel today's art has plummeted to the lowest possible state. Therefore, the future must absolutely bring a revival. The Principle will spur a much needed renaissance.
The same is true for music. During this time and age, new composers have to come forth to express God's feelings. Artists are the intermediaries who express universal feelings -- the emotions of both God and humanity. Some composers and musicians born in different ages of history, displayed amazing creativity. Beethoven, Vivaldi, Mozart, Verdi, Schubert, Chopin, and Schumann were all great composers and through the music they developed, the world could experience beautiful expressions of God's heart. In my opinion, nothing of the same magnitude has been produced since. The composers of today create what I would term "horizontal" music -- jazz, rock and roll, new wave, punk rock, and so forth. Yet the caliber of eternal music produced in the past can never be re-created unless the Messiah reaches out to each continent of the world and directs people to the path which will encourage them to develop a vertical connection with God and leads them back to Him.
The composers and artists who lived in the past received revelations based on the strong foundation of religious ethics and high moral values that existed. On that basis, the whole culture was ready; heaven opened up and people were able to touch God's soul as well as be touched by Him, and finally display those emotions to the world.
Viewing a painting and then gazing at the same sight in real life will show you how much a picture projects an artist's vision of the scene. Although it is possible to stretch words over five hundred pages, a single picture has to depict the contents of an entire book. But books do convey myriads of images. For example, Goethe, Shakespeare, Schiller, Dante, Tolstoy, and Tocqueville all had a certain talent to convey their inner experiences on paper.
Attune yourself to the lines you read in a book and you will naturally read faster. Your heart will even beat faster.
Whether on stage or screen, dramatic or comic actors must bring to life the heart and soul of the author's screenplay which they enact. Through this unique art form, such playwrights as Shaw and Ibsen also told their stories.
When people attend a concert, they are not handed a bundle of notes to read. Whether or not they know the background of the particular work being performed, they must use all their senses to perceive the composer's message. The audience may sit in their seats and close their eyes, yet in their minds reach the shores of distant lands or view a film from the images they experience in the vibrations and sounds of the music.
During the performance of an opera, a musical, or a ballet an audience can be uplifted by both the visuals and the sounds. They may be able to feel along with the singers, dancers, actors, and musicians. Through the arts you can perceive the quality of projected images, of life spans, of a multitude of things.
Whenever we listen to music, we must be so attentive that our senses unfold and can even absorb its harmony through our pores. The melody that reaches our ears is often diverted to our minds. There it finds a place of refuge, but soon the lilting sounds are transformed into images that sprint directly to our hearts. It is the heart that accumulates and harbors a treasure chest of emotions for just such an occasion; depending upon the reverberations that fill our minds, certain emotions are removed from that box, and those feelings that overwhelm us, cherished. We have to learn to assimilate music with our whole bodies.
Music is the resonance of the entire universe; an orchestra or choir performs in stereo all the sounds found in creation -- the barking of dogs, the chirping of crickets, the warbling or cawing of birds, the mooing of cows, even the whistling of wind. Most sounds can be easily reproduced by an orchestra. When played alone or in concert with others, certain musical instruments often imitate sounds made by animals or things of the creation. A well-rounded piece of music can recapture and re-create the sounds of the cosmos.
Human emotions can be conveyed through such art forms as painting, sculpture, drama, literature, dance, and music. When an organist who has a close relationship with God sits down to play his instrument, his ringers may move and produce a composition he may never have heard. I can remember an organist whom I met and witnessed to over twenty years ago. During the weeks I taught him the Principle, I prayed for him constantly. He was not as proficient with a piano as he was with an organ, but after he accepted the Principle, he sat down at the piano and began to play Beethoven. Sweat and tears flowed down his face. Afterward he shared his astonishment with us and exclaimed that he had never played like that in his life. The way his fingers moved was astounding; it was as if they were choreographed and coached. It leads me to believe that one of the master composers in the spirit world must have connected with him; his interpretation of Beethoven's work was supreme.
Throughout history, God has spoken in various voices. His was the inspiration behind the creation of millions of word combinations chronicled in countless books. He stimulated numerous lyrics and tunes; this was the way He sang to His children. They are but two of the ways God communicates with us; He is desperate that we become able to perceive the sound of His voice, whatever form it takes.
We do not just hear thundering music or the tremendous power of the baritones and sopranos when listening to an opera. We also try to detect what words are being sung. The highest expression of language comes through the total mental and physical involvement of song. When you hear a trained opera singer it is not your imagination that the walls shake. Song can really touch the hearts of others. Yet the heart should be seasoned to prepare it to be stroked by melodies or arias.
It is natural for every person created by God to perceive His voice and orchestra. But in order to really understand God, we must encompass all of His essentialities.
We cannot separate ourselves from music, painting, or other forms of art. All of these become a part of us. When a little child draws what his daddy or mommy looks like, the parents cannot help but be touched by the beautiful expression of their child. What we must realize is that God, our Parent, has identical feelings whenever any of us begin to express creativity by singing, acting, dancing, writing, painting, sculpting, or the like.
An orchestra may make you feel as if you are in the midst of nature even though you sit in a room surrounded by other people. Each instrument often represents one element of creation. The conductor symbolizes man, the lord over creation. Yet he is also in God's position to the orchestra as he is its center.
The Creation by Haydn is a glorious masterpiece. Haydn was truly a gifted man; so much of his work praises God. The text of this piece describes how God began creating and how He continued to express Himself from the first through the seventh day of creation. It is highlighted by several solos, and the harmonization of angelic-like choirs is interspersed. The finale is the glorious rejoicing of both the entire universe and heaven.
This music has the ability to penetrate your skin and touch your very bones. Just the thought of it sends shivers down my spine!
The greatest manifestation of God is to be found in a human being. That is why artists often use the human body as the central focus in painting or sculpting. The worlds of Michelangelo, Peter Paul Rubens, Rembrandt, da Vinci, Auguste Rodin, Raphael, and other great painters and sculptors always emphasized the beauty and magnificence of this highest form of God's creation.
It is not implausible to claim that some classical music represents the angelic world. Certain pieces have the tendency to melt us into pools of emotions. They uplift us and mediate between God and humanity. When certain glorious pieces of music are played, most listeners immediately become elevated from earth up to heaven.
In my opinion, there has never been a composer to rival Beethoven; I must admit that within the circle of classical composers, he is my favorite. Yet each of the great musical geniuses approached communicating their souls in a different manner. Brahms, Schubert, Tchaikovsky, and others each expressed a certain uniqueness. Some revealed their hearts while others conveyed something of the intellect. The romantic composers represented specific eras of music. For example, when the waltz was introduced, Strauss was welcomed into society. With quite different momentum, still other composers presented additional temperaments and moods of God. If we group the works of such great masters together. we would find a great span of music woven from vertical inspiration.
It is not always necessary to listen to the magnificent and bold compositions of Beethoven or Rachmaninoff. The tenderness of a Mozart symphony, the majesty of Handel's Messiah, the sweetness of Pachabel's "Canon" are also good choices, depending on your mood.
Lohengrin is a long composition by Wagner. One small section of this piece is the famous "Wedding March" which is still played today. But unfortunately the rest of that dynamic overture is often overlooked. He was a mighty composer. Hearing Wagner played in a flat field quickly disperses the tremendous energy he invested, but if you hear his work resounding through the southern German mountains or the Swiss Alps, you will be able to comprehend more of his vibrant nature. He may not be as well-known or well-loved as some other composers, but he actually offers his audiences a number of surprisingly moving pieces.
Each one of these men was a true artist, inspired by God and His creation. Listen intently to the clear reception they were able to receive from God's transmission to them.
There are such different depictions of God within the immense range of music. Mozart is uplifting and full of passion. His music almost creates an environment for lovers, but also can be powerful and serene as in "Requiem." Beethoven spans the gamut -- sometimes potent, sometimes majestic, sometimes dynamic, sometimes delicate. He also became involved in expressing the might of the universe, portraying thunder and lightning, and the relationship between heaven and earth. Yet he also produced the "Ninth Symphony -- Joyful, Joyful." In German it means, "Joy, joy the spark that comes from God..." Whenever I hear that piece, I can easily feel how God ignited the mind and heart of Beethoven to portray the joy that He so much wants to feel from His children and His universe.
We must not be content with seeing only one angle of God, the universe, or people. In addition to any field in which we specialize, we need a broad and comprehensive education. Such training includes becoming well-versed in the arts. Music, art, and even physical education are all essential in understanding the totality of God.
If you do not have the foundation to perceive what God has to offer you through literature, music, drama, dance, or art, it is extremely difficult to understand those worlds. If those areas were not included in your formal education, learn about them on your own. There are multitudes of books you can read poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. The old culture of Europe dictated that people read numerous works. In fact, it was fashionable to have many shelves full of the classics. Yet it was not just a status symbol to have a complete library; if you owned them, you also had to be conversant about them.
The art of conversation was highly developed during different periods. People of society formally prepared themselves by reading a great deal and exposing themselves to as much knowledge as possible. They were usually fluent in more than their native tongue. Because they were well-read, they always uncovered new things to speak about. If your mind is blank, you will not find much to talk about with other people. Yet you need to be well-educated to be a good listener as well. I believe that a broad, not just religious, education is very important as the basis of any culture. The people living in such a society are able to perceive and appreciate more about people and things, about the entire universe.
When we think of the word "prophet," we can easily list such names as Moses, Jesus, Buddha, and Mohammed. But God also selected prophets in the world of the arts and injected His word and the vibrations of His heart into their creations.
Throughout the entire two thousand years of Christian history many musicians produced songs, and artists created paintings and statues. In my opinion the majority of artists drew the inspiration for their major works from Jesus. I believe the reason they glorified him is because he brought salvation and hope, and as the Messiah, mediates between God and mankind.
What will happen in the future? If a new culture dawns and there is a transformation of the art forms, who will become the central focus?
The worlds of music, sculpture, painting, drama, dance, and literature are the main areas through which we can perceive the inner essence of God within both the physical and spiritual universes. An artist must be able to travel into spirit world and uncover God's intention in creating a certain part of the universe. He can then more easily relate that motivation with both his spiritual and physical senses and will project this into music, through sculpting, onto canvas, through acting, through dancing, or into literature in such a fashion that it becomes either a masterpiece or trash.
There were certain eras during which the pouring out of the Holy Spirit came upon the great composers. At those times, the people of society had an openness of heart to perceive and receive such encounters with the Almighty. God endowed special talents to these masters, perhaps even raising their moral and spiritual caliber; because they held Him in reverence, He was able to reach them.
The music of those ages is with us yet today. Any cultured people can still appreciate the classical music composed even hundreds of years ago; it is as timeless as the emotions it conveys. Romantic, baroque, and other kinds of music each reveal some hidden garden of God.
It is not simply that the painter wants to paint a certain scene on his canvas; a rainbow of paints and a variety of brushes are not the only tools he uses. He has a vision which he wants to fashion, and to do that he must also use the instrument of his heart. Depending upon his connection to God, he may be able to receive inspirations and suggestions on how to perfect his creation. When he is finished, he experiences joy as he has a total give and take with his work. It is not just that he fulfills a drive to create something; there is a purpose, too. And that purpose may just come from God's longing to express a certain feeling to His children.
We must fine tune our senses in order to appreciate the world of the arts. We cannot just glance at a painting and say it is good. The inner soul of some human being is expressed through the form of art chosen by the artist. If we do not attempt to perceive the master's lifeblood, we may also miss one way that God tries to reach us.
We are able to further perceive the greatness of God once we are able to comprehend the breadth and depth of all the pure and beautiful things He has bequeathed to the creation and mankind. It is then important to develop our capability to perceive this through all ten of our spiritual and physical senses. We must allow the essence of the expressions coming from our God to be planted within our souls; we then need to harvest the ability to create and express what He shares with us. Once we do, the worlds of music, art, dance, drama, and literature will become more alive to us. These tools, which are used to bring forth a host of God's images, should make our quest for Him that much more tangible.
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