Art: Something that is created with imagination and skill and is beautiful or that expresses important ideas or feelings.

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I recently spent a week at the Chautauqua Institute in New York State. It is a summer village community, founded in 1874, dedicated to lifelong learning. In living out this original vision, Chautauqua has daily lectures given by world-renowned speakers, authors, activists, and the week I was there, even astronauts, and a Nobel prize winning Poet Laureate!

No cars are allowed so everyone walks along lovely brick streets lined with unique little cottages and an astonishing variety of gardens. In almost every garden, there are beautiful, funny, quirky, big and little artworks to be discovered. One garden was filled with tiny fairy furniture, one had painted rocks with words of encouragement and humor. There were several of these joyful, welcoming statue people of all sizes and shapes in many of the gardens I passed each day.

One day, a young boy was posing in front of this statue, mimicking its open and welcoming stance. I overheard him telling his grampa, “Look this little boy is as big as me! And look how happy he is to be here!” I found it intriguing because I had looked at this same figure and I had seen an older, joy filled, welcoming woman…and I had imagined myself standing with that opening and heartfelt stance greeting each new day that life brings.

Have you imagined yourself into a piece of art lately? Have you looked at a painting and climbed in and walked around to take a peek behind the scenes? Have you looked at a photo of a sailing boat and climbed aboard and adventured off to a tropical isle? Isn’t that a great thing about art? When it sets us imagining?

Better yet, have you imagined yourself AS a work of art lately? A work of art, shaped lovingly out of clay and stardust by a master artist? It’s true you know…you are one of God’s favorite master pieces! So, throw open your arms and embrace yourself, the world, and the artfulness of what each new day is bringing. God will beam with joy…for all is good!

“God created humankind in God’s image, in the image of God they were created, male and female God created them.  God blessed them…and God saw everything made was very good.” (Gen 1: 27 & 31)

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