We gathered in the vicarage garden to listen to Mark Meynell put his case for why we as believers NEED the arts.

So often I look at life through the familiar, the perspective with which I feel comfortable, but as a result I fail to find the fresh perspectives, the revelation of something I hadn’t seen, heard or understood before.

Mark introduced us to some examples of visual artists, musicians, wordsmiths, playwrights and poets. Through their genius observations and insights, both seen and imagined, we can view the concrete and the abstract reality. We can begin to get glimpses of how the temporary touches the eternal.

Ask a fish about water and he will struggle to explain it to you because it is so familiar to him. The fish has little experience of a non-water world! So it is with us, we live in our own individual bubbles and have no or little notion of reality beyond ourselves. We are living in the immediate, a limited and false reality, and art can show us glimpses of the beauty and wonder beyond ourselves. Art can speak to us in ways we cannot speak to ourselves. Why the title ‘Shards of Grace’? Shards are often pieces of something bigger that are broken, but shards give us clues to the wondrous beauty of the complete before it was broken. We know some of this as believers and we need to be reminded. Thank you Mark because we as Christians do NEED the arts.

I want to finish with a quote from a novelist whose work I have enjoyed and who I think exposes the false and reflects the real in her writing.

‘All human nature vigorously resists grace because grace changes us and the change is painful.’

The Habit of Being: Letters of Flannery O’Connor (1925-1964)