I think many of us struggle with the way we look. If we only understood that God made us the way we are we might think that other’s expectations and our own isn’t important. The way that God sees us is the most important thing of all because God doesn’t look at the outward appearance the way that we or others tend to do. Many people judge us from our outward appearance and not by what is inside. What is inside is what really counts in God’s eyes and in God’s eyes it’s the only thing that’s important. The outward man or woman is not of eternal importance…it is what is inside as Jesus once said “it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person” (Matt 15:11) so we must keep our focus on what really defiles a person and it’s not what’s outside that does it but what comes out of the person’s mouth for that reveals what’s in our hearts. Biblical Verses Image While many white musicians gravitated toward country, folk, and old-timey music to express their spirituality outside of traditional Christian hymns, Black Gospel music drew heavily upon the traditional spirituals that had been passed down from the days of slavery, picking up its more driving rhythmic emphasis from blues and early jazz. Composer and singer Thomas A. Dorsey crystallized the style in 1932 with his epochal "Take My Hand, Precious Lord," and went on to compose a great many songs that later became standards. When performed in the churches, the music was traditionally sung by a choir, with individual soloists sometimes taking the spotlight; this often happened in a form known as "call and response," in which either the choir or the soloist would repeat and/or answer the lyric which had just been sung by the other, with the soloist improvising embellishments of the melody for greater emphasis. As the music developed, these soloists became more and more virtuosic, performing with wild emotion (and, in the South, physicality) in order to properly express the spiritual ecstasy the music was meant to evoke. The music was quite egalitarian in terms of gender, as both male and female performers -- Brother Joe May, Rev. James Cleveland, Mahalia Jackson, the Clara Ward Singers, etc. -- gained wide renown among both black and white audiences. The small-group format was also prevalent, with major figures including the Five Blind Boys of Mississippi, the Soul Stirrers, the Swan Silvertones, and the Dixie Hummingbirds; in general, these groups placed a greater premium on smooth vocal harmonies, although some performances could approach the raucous energy (if not quite the huge sound) of a choir-with-soloist group. As the years progressed, black gospel and black popular music influenced and borrowed from one another, reflecting the gradual change of emphasis toward R&B; black gospel also had an enormous impact on the development of soul music, which directed gospel's spiritual intensity into more secular concerns, and included a great many performers whose musical skills were developed in the church. As a recognizable style unto itself, black gospel music largely ceased to develop around the 1970s; progressing racial attitudes had helped black popular music reach wider audiences (and become more lucrative) than ever before, and tastes had turned towards the earthy hedonism of funk and the highly arranged, sophisticated Philly soul sound. The former wasn't quite appropriate for worship, and it wasn't all that practical to duplicate the latter in church services. However, the traditional black gospel sound survived intact and was eventually augmented by contemporary gospel (an '80s/'90s variation strongly influenced by latter-day urban R&B); plus, singers like Whitney Houston continued to develop within its ranks. Christian Wall Art Paul knew that the outward man or woman was perishing, day by day, and as he said “was wasting away” but the most important work was being done inwardly by the Spirit of God and this was the renewal that each believer in Christ is undergoing, day by day. God’s Spirit works to convict us of sin, He works to make us more like Christ, and our sanctification is a lifelong process and even though we might be falling apart outwardly, what is eternal is what is inside and that’s the only thing that counts. We are new creations in Christ (2 Cor 5:17) even though the outward appearance is decaying, so that’s why Paul didn’t want us to lose heart. Biblical Verses Image Jesus knew the heart and since He is God, He knows the thoughts and motives of every human heart for He is also the Creator. God looked at the religious leaders and knew that they were hypocrites because they taught one thing but did another as Jesus said “on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness” (Matt 23:28). They liked to be seen and wanted others to think highly of them but Jesus knew that inwardly they were as dead as could be and were full of all sorts of evil and uncleanliness. It is never what others think about us that’s important; it is only what God knows about us that counts. We might be able to fool others but we can never fool God because “Lord, you know everyone’s heart” (Acts 1:24) “for the LORD is a God who knows, and by him deeds are weighed” (1 Sam 2:3).
Our mission is simple: Art and Christianity no longer resonate as an inherent, magnificent pairing. Actually it is a feeling that goes both ways: most Christians no longer see Art as being important or even as a relevant way of promoting the faith; and non believers don’t value Christianity as having been at the forefront of the arts throughout the centuries, responsible for creating some of the most magnificent artworks out there. Our offering is simple: one newsletter a day where we simply send you the Gospel reading of the day, alongside a work of art that we believe is poignant, reflective and appropriate to that reading. We offer a short reflection on the artwork and the reading. We simply give you the tools for you to meditate on the daily Gospel alongside a work of art. We are an apostolate within the Roman Catholic Church, based in London. Christian Images And it will come about in that day, that every place where there used to be a thousand vines, valued at a thousand shekels of silver, will become briars and thorns. People will come there with bows and arrows because all the land will be briars and thorns. As for all the hills which used to be cultivated with the hoe, you will not go there for fear of briars and thorns; but they will become a place for pasturing oxen and for sheep to trample. Christian Wall Art