First of all, please forgive me for the cheesy title...I couldn't resist. If you are unaware (as I was before art classes), a "hue" is a color with white added to it. There can be many hues of green, for instance, according to how much white is added. A "tint" is the opposite, a color with black added. But in this instance I am talking about a tent, like for camping.
Two days ago in my painting/theology class, we were discussing a modern art work by a woman named Tracey Emin. The piece is an actual camping tent with a light inside. On the walls of the tent you see listed, in big embroidered letters, names of people. There are other messages in small squares also inside the tent, and a mattress on the floor. The title of the work is "Everyone I Have Ever Slept With." The names include all the bed-sharers in the artist's life, from sexual partners and family members, to her own aborted child. You can check out some pictures at http://vassun.vassar.edu/~jamundy/Everyone1.html.
So, we talked a bit about this, and what it was saying about culture, and people. There is color in the tent, but there is a haunting void. There is a story being told, and you almost feel trapped in it. The story is almost imploding on itself (maybe even on the artist?). I began processing what it would look like for Christians to respond to a piece like this.
Over the past year, the Lord has been using the Biblical image of a tent in my life, and in the life of the Asbury community. This tent is a tabernacle. In this tent is a barren woman who is being asked prophetically to expand her borders. To open her doors (Isaiah 54)...to strengthen her stakes for the Lord's blessing. In praying some of this scripture for the Asbury community, it was as if God was saying, "Make room! Get ready! Everyone gather under. I am doing a new thing among you." This tent was a community tent, full of redemptive relationship. Healing. Open. A place where the Lord dwells. A bridal tent. Now, as all of this was running through my mind, I was exploding to share with the group. My mind was twisting up against itself as I wondered what such a tent would look like.
I have realized now, a couple of days later, that I am called to create that tent. A redemptive tent. A Story Tent. In it is a story and a community much bigger than the one Emin depicted in her piece. Artistically, Emin's tent speaks volumes. It is creative and clear. The emotions are emptiness and woundedness.
As Christians, even in the arts, we are called to bind up wounds, to pour out all we have that His Love might fill others. So, to get back to the hues...I want to make a tent with white added. The purity and light and grace of a greater Story. A redemptive covering holding inside all the names of those who rest under it.