by Beth Schult
So where do YOU go when you are busting at the seams with an idea? Well, I usually find myself at the Katy Trail on a walk/run with worship music streaming through my ear buds. And true to self, the next beautiful, sunny morning after the Cardinal game, I found myself on a run. But this day was different than most. I usually start my playlist or spotify and love to watch God surprise me with songs to ponder. But not today….today I knew the song I was going to run to. And yes, you guessed it, Love Ran Red.
So I put my ear buds in and away I ran down the unending stony white path set before me. I began to notice that I was hemmed in behind and before by some of the most incredible artistry of the Creator of the world. The monarchs, the grasses, the cardinals, the water, the clouds, the eagle-like hawks, the sun, the wind….it all speaks. So, surrounded by His holy creation and the melodious lyrics of Love Ran Red, a strange feeling came over me.
I was alone—but connected
I was overwhelmed- but calm
I was out of control- but steady
I was an empty shell- but poured into
I was a rushing wind- but a quiet still
These vivid moments led to a shower of ideas that flowed like a river into my heart and mind. I wish I could have stopped running to write. But there was NO way I was going to stop….the surge of energy that was rushing through me was creating yet again more holy moments that I find very difficult to explain. And I don’t know about you…but when you find those divine moments – a connection between heaven and earth – a communication that whirls and stirs your inner being….you don’t ever want it to end. So, I kept running. I think it is the only time in my life where I never felt exhausted mile after mile. And all of a sudden this beautiful masterpiece started to appear. This flood of ideas all started to “paint a picture” of what God was bringing into focus for me.
RED— a color! Could I use one color to convey the story of salvation?? And immediately I had my answer. ART! Through the gift of ART …of course! My mind was filled with how special that color of RED truly is. It symbolizes so much all by itself. It is the color of love, it is the color of sacrifice, and it is the color of Christmas! And in that moment images of the whole story of the Gospel from beginning to end: from Creation to Salvation– started to emerge in my head…but all in red.
The ball of fire—the 1st light of creation,
The apple- the Fall of Man, Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden
The stable glow–Jesus, the promised Messiah, laying in a manger
The pouring out of blood—Jesus’ atonement on the cross
The early Easter morning sunrise—Jesus resurrection from the dead
As I continued to run, the images started to dictate certain songs that had surfaced in my life within the past 6 months through various experiences and people. As I drove away from the Katy Trail that day, I was once again reminded how awesome GOD is –and how much HE loves to communicate with His people…even through a silly little road sign….right at the entrance to where I started my run that day.
And upon returning home that rush of adrenaline carried over into the following days. However, human nature likes to creep in and crush you. And you start to question….”How do I commit all of this to paper? Why has God given this to me? I can’t do this justice… I don’t know where to start!”
I began right where God asks us to begin everything…in the WORD. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, Lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” So within the days ahead pouring over scripture, crying out to God in prayer, each click of the computer took me on this incredible TRUST walk. God took one simple idea and created an artistic journey through the story of HIS LOVE and Salvation for His people. And not only did He supply the ideas, He delivered something incredibly special…. the artists. I can’t wait to watch God use each and every one of their talents to glorify their Creator! From the painters, to the poets, the potters, to the sewers, the praise singers, to the band musicians, we are in for one picture that is perfect in His sight during RED this coming weekend.
A mission trip to Poland, a Tennessee vacation with family, an Outcry concert, Conversations with dear friends, a Sunday at the Symphony- Beethoven’s Ninth, a Wavel Castle tour, a Cardinal’s baseball game, a Toby Mac concert, a walk on the Katy Trail, time spent in the Word, worship with Messiah family. We begin to see that our journey with HIM is one big holy conversation! He uses all of these experiences to open our eyes to see what He is creating in our life.
What is He trying to tell you in your life? Look around…where has He taken you lately? Listen closely. Watch intently. See it through the RED haze of His LOVE all around you. Expect Him to use the smallest of details of every situation to speak to you. He will draw you close and will use your life to draw others in to His grace and love. Holy moments, God speaks….watch and listen. You will be amazed.
If you remember from the Part 1 of this blog, this all started the day that I received word that a dear friend passed away. At Beth’s funeral, her brother read this text from Revelation 21: 2-4 as he opened up her eulogy:
“And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”…
This Advent season, this is the ultimate picture that God is painting for His people! It is a glorious and radiant picture! We wait with eager anticipation, ready for this day when HE comes again to make all things new! So we spend our days in worship and awe—gathering others in to enjoy this communion of eternity!
“Come, Lord Jesus, Come! Amen! Alleluia!”
Beth Schult is the Director of Worship Arts at Messiah. She blogs about music, worship and creative expressions of faith.