The role of the artist

From Robert van de Weyer: Celtic Gifts

Are artists the people who break down the invisible walls which divide the Church from the wider community? In the Celtic period, and right up until relatively recent times, all art was religious; and there was no division in people’s minds between the religious and secular aspects of their lives – all life was permeated by religion. Now those who hold a clear religious faith are in a minority, and religion is widely perceived as a separate sphere of activity, a kind of hobby which this minority pursues in their leisure hours. Yet artistic creativity knows no barriers; artists draw their inspiration from every kind of source, making no distinction between religion and the rest of life; and good music, poetry, painting, architecture and sculpture can be appreciated by everybody, regardless of religious affiliation – or lack of it. So just as the Order of St Brigid is concerned with the healing of individuals, the Order of St Columba* may have a particular role in the healing of society.

* Instead of the conventional structure of the Church of England, van de Weyer imagines a new model for the church in which both clergy and lay people are elected to ‘Orders’ which bring together those with particular gifts for the church, e.g. preachers, pastors, healers. Each Order is named after a Celtic saint. The Order of St Columba is for artists.

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