As I finished The Ale Boy’s Feast last week (review coming soon–and let me just say that despite what you may read in the Amazon reviews, this book is incredible), one of its premises took me back to something I used to ardently believe, something I once wanted to write a book about. I was going to call it Everything Sacred.
The premise, as James 1:17 puts it, is that “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights.” Every good gift. Not just the Bible, Sunday school, and WWJD bracelets. Every good gift, like sunsets and trees, bright eyes, clean water, sparkling personalities, beauty, grace, colour, music. As Fred pointed out in yesterday’s fantastic post, science and technology are gifts of God. Friendship is a gift of God. Romance is a gift of God.
And none of it is meant to be enjoyed for its own sake, in the way that just grabs the gift and forgets the Giver. All God’s gifts are good and can be sacred if we will look through them to Him–if we, as Jeffrey Overstreet might say, allow the threads in the beautiful things to pull us back home.
I say I “used to” believe this. I still do, but I don’t live it out with my senses heightened the way I once did. For a brief period I staggered through life overwhelmed by all the God I could see, right there before my eyes, awakening longing and teasing out worship. At other times, I’ve forgotten about this business of everything sacred. My eyes have gotten clouded, sometimes by pain, sometimes just by apathy.
I’m grateful to Mr. Overstreet for his story–all four books of it–because it pays such attention to this concept. (And embodies it, in beautiful writing.) It reminded me that I am surrounded by sacred reminders of the One who made me, if I will just stop and pay attention. And it reminded me that this is what artists, including writers, do. It is what Christians who make art should do, consciously and with hearts that beat out worship. We should take the everything around us and lift it up and beat the dust of our people’s apathy until they lift up their eyes and catch a glimpse of the sacredness too.
I wanted to write about the Auralia Thread for a few weeks, but other books have had this effect on me too. Lord of the Rings certainly did; so did Narnia. So did Anne of Green Gables. I have read many books and found I couldn’t look at the world the same way anymore; somehow, another layer had been peeled away to reveal the holiness beneath.
I’d love to know what books–or other works of art–have done this for you. Comments welcome.