Our prompt this month comes from Jack Popjes’ blog, “In Search of Beauty.” He reminded us that God chose two men, Bezalel and Oholiab. He filled them with the Holy Spirit’s wisdom, understanding, knowledge in all kinds of skills, to make artistic designs and to create beauty for the Israelite’s tabernacle. God also gave them the ability to teach others to work as engravers, designers, and embroiderers (Exodus 35:30-35).
Writing as Beauty?
When I suggested this topic last year, I hadn't thought of writing as beautiful. Yes, I thought a piece of writing was dynamic, the style was skilled, superb and brilliant. Images and metaphors were exquisite, sometimes melodic. But “beautiful” hadn’t entered my vocabulary.
Preparing for this blog earlier this spring changed all that.
I'm part of a Sermon Study Guide group at my church, a group that creates study questions for each sermon. We also take turns writing the sermon summary, reducing the essence of the sermon of five to six thousand words into a thousand words. I usually feel stimulated and engrossed in doing so.
This particular Sunday’s summary was a challenge, as our speaker’s style was circular. He made a point, discussed it with a number of repetitions, and then circled back to the point. I spent a number of hours working on it. As I finished, the summary sparkled with authenticity, unity and coherence. It was beautiful.
That experience began my starting point for exploring beauty in writing and mentoring. It seemed that wherever I turned, authors described writing in terms of beauty. Here’s a sample.
“Thomas Jefferson admired the beauty of brevity, urging writers and speakers to do more with less.”
The Russian playwright and short story writer Chekov was gifted with “the ability to beautifully describe a scene by showing rather than telling.”
The testimony of a survivor of Cambodia’s Killing Fields was described as “something beautiful for God.”
“Don't just be the artiste, be a good craftsman”, the author Harold Best advised. “Remember that God makes things beautiful from the inside out…elegant …and in so doing you will join up with the mind of the One in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”[i]
Beyond working to create more beauty in my own writing, God has expanded my ministry of mentoring and encouraging others in their writing journeys. Much of this ministry comes from my own long and convoluted writing journey.
Grappling with writing issues has given me an understanding of issues that other writers face. Working through doubts about God’s purpose and plans for them. Second guessing themselves. Praying through questions. Developing and mastering skill and confidence. Seeing the love of craft blossoming.
Beauty grows as these writers discover purpose, direction, and the power of the Holy Spirit.
We’ve celebrated together.
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Now over to you. What does creating beauty mean for you and your writing? How have you sensed God’s Holy Spirit filling you as He did Bezalel and Oholiab? And/or how is He giving you the ability to teach others in the crafting of beauty?