The Gifted Blog

February 9, 2011

Makoto Fujimura & The Four Holy Gospels | Why We Make

I write The Gifted Blog because I love to create. I've been reflecting on what it means to be a Christian and to love making things. I hope this series will be a jumping-off point for thoughtful discussion among us, no matter your spiritual background. For the whole series, click here.

Some time ago I received an e-mail from artist and blog friend Cathy McMurray, letting me know about this short video about an exciting project by Makoto Fujimura. (You may remember him from a previous post.) In a religion that is finding its way back to the arts, I found this to be a moving example of how art can enrich all parts of our lives, especially our faith.

As he illuminates the four gospels with his paintings, Fujimura observes, "It's one of the few times when contemporary art and the Bible have met."

My favorite part was watching Fujimura paint onto the margins of the Bible text (2:10). In the Bible I used during college, certain parts had notes jotted in the margins in one, two, or three pen colors, each from a different time that Scripture had spoken to me. In Fujimura's illustrated Gospels, how cool to have a new kind of commentary - not in words, as many Bibles have - but in colors, forms and lines inspired by God. A layer of meaning that you add your own to as you read.

Toward the end of the film, gallery owner Valerie Dillon says, "Mako's given a whole group of people confidence to pursue their creativity alongside pursuing their faith." In writing this blog and more recently getting a creative job, I have seen that the pursuit of God and creativity are absolutely intertwined. What about you? Are you more confident pursuing creativity or faith? Or, are you currently pursuing them together?

 If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by email or RSS.

{Second image via}


  1. Everything that we do creatively is an expression of the self, and therefore an expression of God.

  2. Very interesting to get deeper into your motivations. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Thank you so much for sharing this, after watching the video it really giving me the "wow God is great! He is the father of creation, God created us and God gives us the creativity to create beautiful things~"

  4. @Miss P - Thanks for chiming in. It is cool for me to remember the very first stories of God in the Bible - he's absolutely a creator, a creative being.

    @Kelly - Sure thing! Appreciate your comment.

    @LeAnn - Awesome. Yes, I am not always conscious of the connection between God and my creativity, so I, too, really appreciated the video for reminding me of how intimately connected God can be to our creative work. And I loved the peek into the artist's mind as he explained why each work was paired with the different Gospels!

  5. Charissa, keep up with your great work, indeed creativity is one of the lovely gift God to HIS children, i love and enjoy seeing your updates pop-up in mailbox, i nvr bother about gift wrapping until i pumped into your blog month ago, love the brilliant and lovely ideas you share here~ Have a blessed day ahead...and I am happily waiting another new post from you :)

  6. @LeAnn - Thank you so much! Honestly, so sweet of you to say.

  7. I have been contemplating this topic almost non-stop since 1995, I was on an arts team as a summer intern with Los Angeles Urban Project. Only one of my most recent musings came from a quote of Vincent Van Gogh, "In a picture, I want to say something comforting, as music is comforting. I want to paint men and women with that something of the eternal which the halo used to symbolize..." taken from 'Space for God' by Don Postema, p. 34. Don't you think that when you really wrap something, you are adding a halo to the present?

  8. @Rachel Hamilton - Oh man, I've had to think about this one! I felt loathe to say, "Yes, I'm adding a halo to each gift I wrap"! But - if that means that I'm adding "something of the eternal" to each gift, I guess I would agree. It's not literally eternal (obviously, it's made to be torn off!), but it is eternal in that it reflects creation, an attribute of God.

    I feel doubtful even as I write that, though. Why is it so hard to pin down what is of God when we make things??


Your comments make blogging more fun! Spam will be deleted - otherwise, let's hear what you have to say!

Related Posts with Thumbnails