trusted online casino malaysia
Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.

Giver and Keeper of Art

We are made to create.

The Celtic Revival: Celtic Christian Culture (5)

I praise the threefold
Trinity as God,
Who is one and three,
A single power in unity,
His attributes a single mystery,
One God to praise.
Great King, I praise you,
Great your glory.
Your praise is true;
I am the one who praises you.
Poetry’s welfare
Is in Elohim’s care.

  - Early Welsh[1]

Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: “See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. And I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, to design artistic works, to work in gold, in silver, in bronze, in cutting jewels for setting, in carving wood, and to work in all mannerof workmanship.”

  - Exodus 31.1-5

The Celtic peoples of pre-Christian Ireland, Scotland, and Wales made powerful use of the arts, especially of poetry. Celtic wise men and teachers used verse and song to relate the great stories of their ancestors, to encourage bravery and loyalty, and to preserve the traditions of their religious and social lives. For pre-Christian Celts, to be human was to be poetic, if only as a participant in the poetry of the community.

When the Celts began to come to Christ in the fifth and sixth centuries, they did not relinquish their love for art and poetry. One of the lasting legacies of the Celtic Revival (ca. 430-800 AD) is the many beautiful expressions of Christian faith, crafted in the arts – poetry, music, sculpture, painting, calligraphy, story-telling, and everyday arts.

Celtic Christians embraced the great tradition of pre-Christian Celtic art and transformed it, creating new forms of art – liturgical vessels, illuminated manuscripts, and carved crosses – and imposing a Christian and Biblical narrative onto their inherited artistic and poetic traditions. They did not radically depart from the artistic heritage of their pre-Christian Celtic forebears; instead, they used the modes of pagan culture, which they greatly embellished, to declare the glories of the Gospel.

Celtic Christians understood that God gave the arts, and they rejoiced to possess, improve, employ, and enjoy them. For Celtic Christians, the welfare of all the arts was in the hands of God, as our Welsh poet acknowledged. He gave creative powers and gifts to people, and He enabled them to create lasting works of beauty, goodness, and truth.

It makes sense, of course, that God would be Lord of the arts. Being Himself all beauty, goodness, and truth, He approves things beautiful, good, and true as reflections or refractions of His character. As Paul Johnson explained in his book, The Creators, He Who created all things made human beings in His own image, so that we, too, should create and enjoy works of art, and offer our art to God for His glory. Celtic Christians took up this challenge with enthusiasm.

But our rationalistic, materialistic, and narcissistic age, coupled with a poisonous individualistic and leveling spirit in the arts, has diminished their importance for most people. For most of us, the arts are merely optional, and we could count on one hand the number of minutes invested in understanding and appreciating them during the past year.

Yet if we have no place in our Christian lives for poetry, music, meditation on great works of art, contemplation of beautiful architecture, and all the other grand and glorious gifts of art God has given, then we are less the people we should be as His image-bearers.

Indifference is not a virtue in the Kingdom of the God of all arts.

We can increase in the knowledge of God through the arts, and we can use them to enjoy and glorify Him.

He in Whose hands is the welfare of poetry would use poetry – and all the arts – to enrich your experience of and witness for Him. Are you willing?

For Reflection
1. Which of the arts have you found helpful in your walk with and work for the Lord?

2. How might you bring more of the arts into your Christian life?

Psalm 115.12-18 (Plainfield: Nothing but the Blood of Jesus)
Blessings from our gracious Lord –
            Ever to His Name be glory!
Shall attend us evermore –
            Ever to Your Name be glory!
Bless all who fear You, Lord, all who obey Your Word,
All who Your Name adore –
            Ever to Your Name be glory!

Grant us, Savior, sure increase –
            Ever to Your Name be glory!
Bless us with eternal peace –
            Ever to Your Name be glory!
Heaven and earth are Yours; let every soul adore
And bless You evermore:
            Ever to Your Name be glory!

Lord, help me to appreciate the arts better, so that in and through them I may…

About the Celtic Revival
Want to learn more about the Celtic Revival? Go to our new web page on this important topic by clicking here. Listen to our newest podcast, Celtic Legacy, by clicking here.

Two books that can help you set your mind on the things that are above: What in Heaven Is Jesus Doing on Earth? looks at the work of Jesus, exalted in glory. Vantage Point explains how Christians can live from a heavenly perspective into every moment of our lives. Order your free copies by clicking here and here.

Thank you
Thanks so much to those of you who faithfully support the work of The Fellowship of Ailbe. God uses your gifts and prayers to reach thousands of people every day in over 160 countries. We praise the Lord for His having moved and enabled you to share with us in this ministry.

If you’re not a supporter of this ministry, won’t you please prayerfully consider making a gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe? Only God can move you to do this, and we believe He intends to support this ministry from within the ranks of those who are served by it. If this includes you, please seek the Lord in this matter. You can click here to give with your credit card or through Anedot or PayPal, or send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 360 Zephyr Road, Williston, VT 05495.

T. M. Moore, Principal
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

All Psalms for singing from The Ailbe Psalter. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


[1] Davies, p. 268.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

Subscribe to Ailbe Newsletters

Sign up to receive our email newsletters and read columns about revival, renewal, and awakening built upon prayer, sharing, and mutual edification.