CONFESSION #7: As an artist, I often get caught up in the vanity of my art.
My church is currently doing a sermon series focused on the book of Ecclesiastes, and it couldn't have come at a more perfect time. Ecclesiastes has a lot to say about life, but it also applies to art and being creative. During this sermon series, I will probably be talking about the book of Ecclesiastes a lot, because it applies perfectly to some of the struggles of being a creative Christian.
For this week in particular, I plan on focusing on Ecclesiastes and creativity.
Ecclesiastes begins with talking about vanity.
The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.
Vanity of vanities! All is vanity.
What does man gain by all the toil
at which he toils under the sun?
Vanity (noun): 1. Excessive pride in one's appearance, qualities, abilities, or achievements.
2. Something worthless, trivial, or pointless.
If you read the first chapter of Ecclesiastes, you will find that King Solomon, who is the Preacher, lays out why all is vanity or essentially meaningless. His findings can be summed up into three main reasons why everything is meaningless.
These points apply to life, but they apply to art as well.
Creativity is vanity. It is essentially meaningless.
In art and creativity, the same processes are repeated again and again. Often what is created isn't really new or original. It might be innovative, but nothing created is every truly new. And art or creative works are not permanent or forever remembered.
The act of creating something can bring joy, but that joy is never lasting. After creating one work, an artist becomes dissatisfied and seeks to create something else, something even better. Endless repetition.
Vanity of vanities.
If art and creativity are vain, why does one create art? Why are people gifted with creativity? And why do people find joy, no matter how fleeting, in creating?
Those are questions that will be touched upon over the next few days as we dive deeper into the vanity of creativity and created works, which is something that I really struggle with understanding.
While this might be a bit of a downer (Ecclesiastes can be pretty depressing), it also offers hope in regards to finding the true source of joy and meaning. If everything is vain and meaningless, what is meaningful? What matters?
The Preacher answers this throughout Ecclesiastes, but essentially what matters is faith in Jesus. And we'll be talking about that more as well, and how faith in Jesus intersects with art and creativity.
This post is part of a 31 day series called Confessions of a Creative Christian.
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