A week of 60-degree weather, song birds at the feeder, the sun slipping back toward the southern hemisphere, and a mention on the evening news that daylight savings time is only two weeks away. All this can only mean one thing: spring is approaching. The onset of spring means many things to many people, but in me it stirs affections
Obviously, the President and the people of Tuscumbia - where hundreds of jobs have been lost of late - hope that the money being invested in rebuilding the Tuscumbia bridge will filter through and trickle out to ironworkers, concrete makers, pavers, landscapers, and workers in a wide range of endeavors. If so, the bridge will be a perpetual symbol of government's ability to renew and revive a faltering economy and restore hope to a fearful people.
But what if the bridge falls victim to the self-centered tendencies of people who know every way from Sunday how to stretch a federal earmark into more dollars spread out over longer periods of time than the project should reasonably require? In that case the bridge at Tuscumbia will haunt the Obama administration like a dirty shirt, a symbol of hubris, corruption, and government waste,
But who will remember any of these people or their accomplishments in just a few short years? It is the nature of pop culture to flare up and flare out just in time for the next flare up, the next idol, the next nobody. Consider, on the other hand, the art that has survived from the period of Celtic Christianity. Those glorious illuminated Gospels, magnificent carved crosses, unforgettable verses, and spectacular liturgical vessels. The art of the Celtic Christian period remains among the greatest aesthetic achievements of the history of Christianity. But the truly amazing thing is, that for all that beautiful, powerful, amazing artistry, we know almost nothing of the artists who created it. In fact, the names of only three of the craftsman of this period have survived, and two of them only because of the testimony of others, not because they signed their work.
Celtic Christian artists devoted themselves and their work to the glory of God. They had no interest in the acclaim of others or securing big contracts for their next piece. Their art, like their hearts and lives, were wholly consecrated to God. Their work abides and will be around long after this season's American Idol - and all the idols of contemporary pop culture - have flared out. Their work testifies to the abiding grandeur of the Gospel, whereas the fleeting fame of the idols of pop art
Why do people enjoy beauty? What does that even mean? Watch people in an art museum as they stand for long moments in front of a painting, keenly interested, variously smiling, furrowing their brows, nodding their heads, leaning over to whisper to one another. Something's going on there which is uniquely human but which, oddly enough, few humans understand or indulge.
T. M. Moore