Juliet once questioned, “What’s in a name?” Well, if you’ve managed to find your way to my site, you may be asking a similar question. Let me explain why I have chosen my title, “Sword and Scroll.” To be honest, there are multiple reasons. Here is how my global mind has meshed them…
1. Ephesians 6:10-17 combines the images of the sword and the scroll by referring to the parchment scrolls of Scripture as the sword of the Spirit. Paul implores the believer, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes…. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Here the sword/word becomes an offensive focal point of the armor. My desire is to use my art to draw the eyes of others back to the Scriptures, encouraging them to stand strong in the midst of whatever struggles they may be facing.
2. Since a friend introduced me to the musical Ragtime in college, it has been one of my favorite theatrical productions! I love the culmination of history, culture and human experience. The show also includes a song that is rather meaningful to me, “Make Them Hear You.” The second verse musically crescendos as these powerful lyrics are imbued:
“Go out and tell our story, to your daughters and your sons. Make them hear you, make them hear you. And tell them, in our struggle, we were not the only ones. Make them hear you, make them hear you. Your sword can be a sermon or the power of the pen. Teach every child to raise his voice and then, my brothers, then will justice be demanded by ten million righteous men. Make them hear you, make them hear you.”
There is so much that I love about these lyrics both within the context of the production and out of context, as applied to my own life. Personally, the lyrics “get” my desire to be heard and leave a legacy. They speak to the breaking of harmful habits that keep individuals from acknowledging their own struggles and brokenness. But it is the middle line, as it soars musically, that internally punches me in the gut. You see, it is often fear that keeps us silent. But could it be that silence extends beyond the audible? For those of us that are visually oriented, could it be interpreted as a void of our creative expression? I regret to state that my fear of personal rejection has at times caused me to hide the message of hope that the Bible provides. One of the ways the Lord has given me to communicate His truth is through art. I am making a conscious choice to share the gifts God has given me in order that others will find the holistic freedom to make their voices heard.
3. At heart, I am a closet archivist and historian. One need only look at my bookshelves full of out-of-print tomes or my carefully organized filing cabinet for substantial evidence. An area that I deeply delight in is the study of illuminated manuscripts. They harken back to a time when devotion to God was lived out brush-stroke by brush-stroke. My own work has become an act of worship, allowing me to reflect on the riches of Scripture. I believe every artist secretly hopes that their work will stand the test of time. While I doubt that the merit of my work deserves such a platform, I do pray that the Lord will allow it to serve as a directional map for the community of faith in this current generation.
Thank you for taking the time to listen to my heart. I look forward to sharing with you more thoughts on devotion, orthodoxy and creativity in the coming days. May the Lord use “Sword and Scroll” to encourage you today and progress the mission of tomorrow!