Arts In Action | Testimony Series | Jason Collier
Have you ever had a song that has reached so deeply into your soul as to impact you in ways you never thought imaginable? A song whose lyrics become the prayer that your heart sings constantly – as years, and even decades pass?
Artist of My Soul by Sandi Patty somehow manages to encapsulate the wonder of God as the artist and us as the artwork. Whether our medium is dance, poetry, painting, sculpture, singing, instruments, or anything else – God is the artist of it all.
If that seems like a lot of information about a song, bear with me.
I was involved in music and arts before I even began school. As a child, it was not unusual for me to find any excuse to get on the stage. Band? Yes. Singing? Absolutely. Piano? I’d love to. Mime? Give me the gloves! I even participated in poetry competitions and monologue contests because each of them came with a chance to be in front of a bunch of people with all the attention on me. I learned quickly that the spotlight was fun! I had attention – not yet knowing the power that it had over me.
I spent years, including my time as a conservatory camper and my first few years as an SLMC camper and TAMC delegate in this mentality. I was going to get attention by any means necessary. It worked – but I was never satisfied.
How fortunate I was to have leaders who never gave up on me, who taught me that we as Christians are called to use our gifts for the glory of God – not for glorifying ourselves. The example set by the leaders was one of humility – of presenting Christ in ways that captivated me like nothing else ever had. It was their example, their influence, that led me to pray as the song says; “create in me, from shapeless clay, an instrument on which You play.” And my life has never been the same.
It has been the privilege of my life to work professionally in music and arts. The adventures God has given me, both in The Salvation Army, as well as in other churches and ministries have taken so many forms – from conducting a choir of 250 people, to singing about crazy camp experiences with teenagers, to figuring out how to make the lights and fabric work together to make a convincing water effect for a baptism scene. Each one of those experiences has been a chance for God, the artist of my soul, to show His creativity.
The arts are powerful for those who participate. If used with the wrong motives, they can be dangerous. However, when used in earnest to seek the Lord, they can lead us to Him in ways we can hardly explain.
The arts are also powerful for those who observe. It is the power to capture the attention and imagination of those who need to meet the Lord. It is also the power to encourage and convict the believer – to deepen them in their faith. Let us go after it wholeheartedly, to win souls and to draw them closer to Him.
“Oh, Lord of beauty, Lord of art who puts a song in every heart; carve out my life, reshape and mold, and be the artist of my soul.”