"If, after all these years, I were still courting the favour of men, I should not be what I am, the servant of Christ."
The Artist as Celebrity
The idea of the celebrity artist, the artist who has won fame and praise for himself and his work, is a relatively new phenomena. It is more a product of the modern concepts of marketing than it is about the artist's talent. For every pop superstar, every academy award winning actor, there are thousands of artists, just as skilled, if not more so, that we will never hear of.
The lure of adulation, praise, and recognition, is a tempting one. But ultimately it may lead us away from the path God has put us on. Humility is often seen as a weakness, something that keeps us from achieving all that we are capable of. But this is the wrong way to look at it. When we stop seeking the approval of others, we begin to focus our gifts and talents on pleasing God.
Johann Sebastian Bach
One of the most beautiful musical settings for Mass ever written is the Mass in B Minor by Johann Sebastian Bach, But it was never performed in his lifetime. Bach was a Lutheran and his church would not permit a composition for a Catholic Mass in their services.
The Catholic church could not use it because it required an orchestra which was not permitted in the Catholic Church at the time.
Similarly, Bach's "Goldberg Variations" is set for a type of concert that did not exist until a hundred years after the composer's death.
If Bach had worried only about the praise of men these works would never have been written. But the musical genius realized that in the end his true audience was not other people. His true audience was God and His saints.
It was only through humility that Bach created work that would not be truly appreciated until years after he had passed from this world. Humility does not inhibit our creativity, it set us free.
"Do you think it is man’s favour, or God’s, that I am trying to win now? Shall I be told, now, that I am courting the good will of men? If, after all these years, I were still courting the favour of men, I should not be what I am, the servant of Christ."Gal 1:10
this article originally appeared at www.DeaconLawrence.org
Pontifex University is an online university offering a Master’s Degree in Sacred Arts. For more information visit the website at www.pontifex.university
Lawrence Klimecki, MSA, is a deacon in the Diocese of Sacramento. He is a public speaker, writer, and artist, reflecting on the intersection of art and faith and the spiritual “hero’s journey” that is part of every person’s life. He maintains a blog at www.DeaconLawrence.org