I can’t believe it’s Friday again! It’s time to write “for only five short, bold, beautiful minutes. Unscripted and unedited. We just write without worrying if it’s just right or not.” And today, our Five Minute Friday topic is…
We never stop growing. Or at least, we never should.
We grow physically for a while, first upward then outward (and some people keep growing outward!). But as that growth slows down, around age 20-25, our growth in other areas really begins to take off. We grow mentally, through academics and reading and exposure to the arts. We grow socially, through an ever-widening group of friends and acquaintances. We grow emotionally, as we learn how to handle ourselves through different circumstances. And hopefully we grow spiritually, not stagnating in our walk with God but rather learning and maturing in knowing and loving Him.
We grow, as we move from the milk of the Word (narrations of the Gospels, basic beliefs of Christianity) to the steak dinners (deeper doctrinal books, more intense histories and prophecies). We grow as we learn not just what God has done but who He has been throughout the ages. We grow as we learn to trust His Word completely, choosing faith over fear and wisdom over worry. We grow as we internalize and personalize His promises, His instructions, and His explanations. We grow as we share that truth with others, teaching and encouraging them in healthy doctrine.
We are to be continually growing spiritually. Continually maturing in Christ, in our character and our heart’s desires and our experiential knowledge of Him. As the old Sunday school song tells us, “Read your Bible, pray every day, and you’ll grow – Grow – GROW!“
So my ten things to be thankful for today don’t really have anything to do with the Five Minute Friday topic, unless you consider that most of us are always growing in our music and art preferences. Always changing and maturing (hopefully). The cultural arts that I enjoy now, I never gave much thought to ten years ago. The fine arts seem more beautiful to me, deeper and more rich in meaning. I’ve discovered new worlds of intellectual enjoyment within “classical” music (I use the term loosely), and have grown to enjoy the simplicity and cultural historicity of folk music. I’ve learned more about the history of music within the church (and I’m still learning, as my husband goes to seminary and shares his knowledge with me), and come to appreciate the rich doctrinal-based hymns more than ever before. Even in college, we had a series of concerts, operas, and classical plays, which expanded my mind and matured my artistic sense.
I like to consider the artistic, creative side of God sometimes. He is the great Creator! One way that we are made in His image is that we too can create things. Not worlds and not life, but we can create beautiful art and music and things with words. Think of the beauty God included in His creation – the rich colors of fall, the brightness of flowers, the intensity of light in contrast to darkness. He is the greatest Artist of all! And so, if art is created according to His principles, valuing the things He values and commending the things He considers praise-worthy, then it is to be enjoyed! Not enjoyed more than our Creator, not worshiped and idolized, but at least enjoyed to a lesser extent!
So anyway, here are ten things I am thankful for today:
171. Symphonies and orchestras
172. Operas with funny subtitles
173. Baroque music: Bach, Telemann, Handel
174. Classical-era: C.P.E Bach, Mozart, Haydn, Scarlatti
175. Romantic: Brahms, Mussorgsky, Saint-Saëns, Grieg, Tchaikovsky, Dvořák
176. 20th century: Gershwin!!, Debussy, Copeland, Rachmaninoff
177. 21st century: John Williams, John Rutter, Dan Forrest
178. Holiday-themed hymns, carols, and songs
179. Folk music that passes on history and culture
180. Music set apart specifically for worshiping God