The way I look at it, as artists who love Jesus, our first onus is to Him first. Perhaps the most difficult thing to do is create the piece He is calling us to, despite the possibilities of criticism from others. Isn’t that what Jesus did in His relationship to the Father? Listened and watched to see and understand what the Father had Him do, and then do it to the utmost?
Jesus was revered by many, but loathed too. His art is the deepest: the revolution of hearts in a dark humanity.
I may rile by my writing, but if I’m bent toward Jesus’ voice, His will resonate. And He will give me the grace to love those who may criticize. With His outlandish, concilitory, humble love.
I’m reminded of the courtroom scene in To Kill a Mockingbird. Everyone has left after Tom Robinson is declared guilty. All remaining is the crowd of folks in the balcony. Silently they rise. Scout, Atticus’ daughter, remains on the ground. The preacher tells her to stand, that her father is passing by.
I cried the last time I watched that scene because I realized I’d been living for the applause from lower level of the courtroom. Longing for praise there. But the most significant praise we receive outside of the Well Done Good and Faithful Servant will be from those who hurt, who are oppressed, in whose lives we’ve made a difference by God’s grace.
I want to write for His applause, yes. But I also want to lift my eyes to the balcony and live for the praise that is most humanly significant.