January 5, 2017

Beauty: the spark of God

Written by  Jimm Derksen
The author creates in his home office. The author creates in his home office. Photo by Kaylene Derksen.

This article appears in the January/February 2017 issue of Missionary Messenger; sign up to read more articles like this one.

Creating beauty

I notice this gift of beautification at the home of our friends; their house, inside and out, is like a retreat. It’s cold water to a weary soul. I notice this gift in a colleague when she leads worship at chapel. Her music quickly calls my attention to God. I notice this gift at church when I see a new design on the altar table every Sunday, or in my friend who could capture the attention of even the most wandering mind through his storytelling. I notice this gift in my wife when she’s in the kitchen. All I can say is she should be awarded a Michelin star.

"Art is the very gift that touches the soul like none other."

Touching souls

Artists are all around us, adding beauty and joy to our life experience. Unfortunately, their contribution is often underappreciated in ministry; in reality, it is the very gift that touches the soul like none other. It’s the difference between having a centerpiece in the middle of a table, or not. When Mary followed through on her beautiful idea to pour very expensive perfume on Jesus’ head, it was misunderstood and viewed as wasteful. Jesus defended Mary by saying, “She has done a beautiful thing to me” (Mark 14:6). This tension is not uncommon for artists. My ideas can be off-the-wall, impractical, or extravagant. But I know the touch of an artist goes deep. Whether it’s painting a watercolor scene, playing the piano, positioning a mandevilla vine around the front door, or creating a backyard oasis, our work affects others. All of the arts minister to the soul.

Jimm Derksen serves as personnel placement coach for long-term workers in EMM’s Human Resources department. He and his wife Kaylene served with EMM in Halle, Germany, and Birmingham, Alabama. They are parents of a college-age daughter and attend Sunnyside Mennonite Church.

This article appears in the January/February 2017 issue of Missionary Messenger; sign up to read more articles like this one.