When Martha and I visited Athens years ago as part of an art-history tour, we stumbled upon this wonderful little museum devoted to "Cycladic Art". This is art from the Aegean Islands from 3300-2000BC. It's sweet, stylized sculpture that was discovered just about the same time as the emergence of modern art in Europe. Many art historians think cycladic art influenced the shapes and images of many modern artists and sculptors.
Thursday Martha and I needed to escape and breathe. The events of the past 6 months (2 parents' deaths, 2 major fires, 2 evacuations, 2 weddings and a screwy economy and its impact on church life) have piled up. So we drove south to the Getty Villa in Malibu and got wondrously lost in the Cycladic Art exhibit.
What does Cycladic art do? It gives me (us) deep perspective. It takes me out of the immediacy of here and now and lets me see life through the eyes of distant people. These statues seem to have similar quizzical looks on their faces as I have on mine. I have a postcard in my office of a Cycladic figure drinking from a cup (and I'm sure it's primitive coffee!!)
A mantra I have employed in my ministry is "when in doubt, go out". That means when I am spiritually stuck or stagnant, I need to get out of my office and into the lives of people. I'm beginning to think that I could also say, "when it doubt, go back" Go to another time and another place and find friends there: cycladic, early church fathers (mothers), pietists, reformers, abolitionists, immigrants. We are not alone. We have a cloud of brave witnesses who urge us along.