Sara Groves has been producing award-winning music for more than 15 years, and recently released The Collection, a compilation of some of her favorite songs from over the years, plus four brand-new tracks. Today TCW presents an exclusive global music video premiere of "Painting Pictures of Egypt." Here's what Groves had to say about the song, and her impression of the crucial role art plays in the church.
Talk about "Painting Pictures of Egypt." What is the significance of the song to you?
It's about the way we romanticize the past even though it wasn't the best thing for us. I was reading about the Israelites in the desert and was trying to think about how I would have responded in their place. I think my tendency is to want to go back to what I know instead of waiting for the promise. But the key line is "the places that used to fit me cannot hold the things I've learned." You can't go back anyway, so trust in God and move on.
You've been producing music for more than 15 years. How do you keep your faith fresh in creative ministry, and what role does art play in the church?
A lot of Christian art has been about writing about a cup of water when God is as vast as the ocean. I believe the gospel, the good news, could square off with every single dark corner, and every piece of news we hear in the world today. Not that it has answers in the sense of ringing certainty, but there is a balm in Gilead. It is a salve that we desperately need. I think the church helps people in embracing doubt and questions, but a lot of art has to do with the journey.
Dallas Willard said that doubt is a bucket for God to fill with answers. You can't reach any place of revelation without first asking a question. A lot of art is about asking questions. So to me, art is important because it is counter to the certainty we crave. We want to be able to see things in black and white: this is this; this is that.
But Jesus often answered a question with a question, and that is what art does a lot of times. We all know art reaches that inner space we cannot reach in other ways. You can preach about something, but someone in song or dance can interpret something in a way that allows the floodgates to open up. Art allows your heart to break open—to have that experience of being reached in a deeper place.
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