Since I was little, I have always loved the smell of turkey cooking in the oven on Thanksgiving. At breakfast, I would ask my mom, “Can I have some turkey?” She would answer, “It’s not ready yet.” I would ask again at lunch time, “Can I have some turkey now?” Again she would respond, “It’s still not ready.” The smell of the turkey made me long for the turkey. My mouth watered for the turkey. I could not wait for that Thanksgiving meal that I knew was coming but was still being prepared.
Lately, my son Aidan has been playing the Prelude in C Major by J. S. Bach. It is one of the most famous pieces written for the piano, because it is profoundly beautiful. But it is also incredibly simple. If you stop to study the piece though, you find that there is a surprising amount of ugly dissonance. The broken chords cause pain to our ears, functioning like the smell of turkey baking in the oven and driving us to that resolution which Bach eventually gives. In the end, the journey of dissonance and pain contributes to the beauty of the piece. Without it, the final chord would lose all meaning and significance.
What is the role of art in mission? It shares the gospel truth that beauty will come out of pain and suffering. Art makes us yearn for resolution to the dissonance in our lives and assures us that one day we will indeed find it. Art gives us that mouth-watering sense of already tasting what is to come. Art makes us yearn for that perfect peace promised by the coming of the kingdom of heaven.
As you smell turkey baking this Thanksgiving, remember the ultimate banquet that is being prepared for you that will fulfill every desire. May our Thanksgiving feast and fun whet our appetites for the ultimate satisfaction of fellowship around God's table.