art and faith

how to hear the music...

I heard the front door close behind him before I was even out of bed. I’d overslept.

Now I’m slurping coffee and lighting candles, reading from the One Year Bible. Sizzling sausage. This is the tranquil intro.

Tapping out a bass line in email responses.

I can hear the rushing water of the shower upstairs over tiny tan shoulders. Her small, high-pitched soprano sings out indiscernible words, bouncing off bathroom walls, floating through every room in the house.

A fork tap taps against a bowl of peaches in the kitchen.

The dishwasher we forgot to run last night is now swishing away at work.

Pointer pup and grumpy old cat stand off near the feeding area, hissing and growling, and my brain buzzes with the things I meant to have done this morning. With the plans on the calendar and preparations for this and that. Here comes the build.

The drowsy silence of early day quickly swells into song. This is the surround sound of our daily life.

But I remember when it was completely different. When I was 23, new in town, and it was only him and me in our little rental. When I decided to wait a few weeks before looking for work, thinking I’d spend the hours songwriting. Within a few days, I was sure the silence would swallow me up whole.

No friends. No work. No idea what to do with the songs I was accumulating. No place to be. No family around. And a painful distance between even the two of us.

Every week was blank, looming at me like open jaws of a great abyss.

A different season completely. God is conducting a magnificent symphony here. Now, if I occasionally long for something on earth, it’s rest, time, occasional silence.

But I know some of you are where I was. You don’t hear His music. Only the sound of isolation, insignificance, uncertainty. You attempt to eek out a melody, but it just keeps meandering and never seems to amount to anything.

Please hear this.

It matters that you keep breathing air into those holes. It matters that you get up in the morning and do what has been placed in front of you and use whatever has been placed in your hands.

There is no “Arrival” gate in life. You are already, today, doing the plan. If you think otherwise, wait until you achieve one of your life goals, and see how quickly you’re swept on into the next movement. The next thing. Instead…when you hear no music, make music.

This is what Love does. Find someone who needs to be sung to.

Today we will, if we leave home, cross paths with someone who needs to be sung to. What he needs may not be our “special gift.” Maybe what she is hungry for is not what we feel like giving or something that will further our own interests.

That’s okay. Sing anyway. Sing truth, with a smile, a conversation, a hand on a shoulder, a small gift, an act of service, a shared bit of time. Then you’ll begin to hear.

To live joyfully, we must stop trying to make ourselves happy.

If your own home is too quiet, if your own mind too haunting…spend less time there.

How I WISH I could go back, have my 23-year-old self hear this. How I wish my self-absorbed 16-year-old self could have understood it. How I hope to remember it today, when I am tempted to become consumed with myself and my own efforts, and I start to hear only noise.

I’m desperate to hear the layers of harmony in His song. He IS singing, you know. We’ve just got to train our ears to hear it. And watch for the build.

To see what is really true, and truly real...

We’re on the road, destined for rest by the sea, and we’ve looked forward to this for so long.  In seven hours more (at 2:10 AM, according to our friend GPS) we’ll arrive at a quiet beach spot and one week of splendidly simple choices like:

Flip-flops or bare feet?  Pool or ocean?  Turkey or salami?

No spiritual gift of discernment required.  Life is seldom that way...

*The rest of the story is over here today, with incredible Kat!  I get to guest blog! Come on over?*

Masterpiece Project 2010: Frame the Clouds

I want to tell you about Masterpiece Project 2010.

Our theme this year was “Frame the Clouds,” and you’ll just have to believe me when I say I did not have anything to do with that. But I was humbled, so grateful that the concept resonates with others.

The staff at Masterpiece are not all of a kind.  We are songwriters, musicians, graphic designers, painters, poets, photographers, calligraphers, pastors, dancers, and counselors.

We are all passionate about our art forms and passionate about the work of God’s kingdom.

In particular, we are passionate about encouraging young artists to be fearless in their faith and in their work.

We all feel inadequate in one way or another.

We wonder what’s next in our own lives.

Above all we believe there is a big, big beautiful true story happening and that it is our responsibility to participate in the telling of it.  By making art.  And by living in love with God’s art.

The students at Masterpiece are not all of a kind.  They are songwriters, musicians, painters, poets, photographers, calligraphers, dancers, novelists, cartoonists, designers.  Public-schooled, private-schooled, home-schooled.  Funny, dramatic, shy, mysterious, hardworking, uncertain, open.

They feel inadequate and wonder what’s next.

But above all they suspect they have something in common with other storytellers, past and present, across the globe and in the next cabin.  Some small part of them, at least, believes they have been given a uniquely powerful way of representing God’s True story.

In one little week in the rural midwest, we are together and changed.

We, together, have listened, walked and talked, written, collaged, and played, danced, cooked, and cleaned.  We've sung prayers, read the Word, and represented a Creed.

We tried to frame the clouds.

And yes, we even built a giant iPod.

*The following was copied (with permission) from a Facebook "Note" posted by one of our campers:

"When we were released by the kitchen staff the people who were helping and I were sitting around a table and someone asked if I had any of my drawings with me and I did. I showed them the one I was working on and I ran back to my cabin and grabbed my three boxes of my drawings and brought them over to the gathering area. I opened them up and gave them up for viewing. This is something I do not do often, generally I am not comfortable with groups of people looking through my art for whatever reason, but I knew it could be appreciated. Now there was a little crowd of about eight or nine people chattering and oooing over my art. Now this was unique being that I have drawn them and made up my mind whether or not I like them or not. There was stuff from a couple of years ago to present and some of those pieces are somewhat embarrassing to me but much to my surprise people were pointing out things in my art that I never saw and were explaining how much they enjoyed them. Compliment after compliment kept coming about drawings that I had nearly forgotten about. It was an encouraging moment and something I remember clearly. In that moment I knew that I was in the company of friends..."

In case you missed it before...April 17th, Wheaton, IL

Join us at Wheaton Bible Church on April 17 to find out about Masterpiece Project, a uniquely intimate setting for young artists to explore issues of art and faith and build mentoring and peer relationships. (And have fun, of course!)


masterpiece promo from David Vosburg on Vimeo.

  Masterpiece Invitation

Masterpiece is incredibly close to my heart. 

I was once a very lonely teenager, despite being in the middle of a large and loving family. Although I didn't yet identify myself as being an "artist," I didn't identify with other established groups at school, either. I didn't play a sport and was pretty shy--didn't volunteer for student council or anything like that. And I had no idea why my music-making should ever really matter beyond my own pleasure. 

If the intimate environment of this week-long summer camp had been available to me then...a place where I could be mentored by adult artists of faith, where I could get to know other young people who were wired towards the arts, and where I could find encouragement as I practiced the various art forms...I cannot begin to tell you what that would have meant to me. 

But if you come to be with us on April 17, some of our students can tell you firsthand. If you are in the Chicago area, please come. I'll be there, along with internationally renowned calligrapher Timothy Bottsand author/art historian Daniel Siedell (God in the Gallery).  

CLICK HERE to read my blog post on Masterpiece Project 2009: Flow.

CLICK HERE to read my blog post on Masterpiece Project 2008: Genesis Eternal.