Tag Archives: los angeles

An Amateur Analysis of Art

I recently visited the LA County Museum of Art (LACMA), and visited the exhibit on display, Metropolis 2.

As we all huddled around this large, noisy exhibit; I listened to everyone’s analysis of this piece of contemporary art. I heard adults saying they liked it, struggling to find the meaning behind it. Some said it was too noisy and left.

I’m sure we could contrive all sorts of meanings from this piece of art. Could it be a representation of our noisy, busy lives here in Los Angeles? Yes. Could it show the mindless business that we all subject ourselves to, day in and day out? Definitely.

However, out of all the reactions, I saw, these were the ones I appreciated the most:

I love observing these kids. They have no need to analyze this piece of art and find meaning. They haven’t reached the age yet where everything in this life needs to apply to them.

I think so often we try to find significance in this world by relating everything to us. Everything suddenly revolves around us, and we have a need to find the meaning and purpose it holds for us. BUT.. What if… the significance of life is our immeasurable insignificance? What if we don’t need to analyze, what if we can’t figure it out? What if we need to just need to stop and wonder.

Stop and wonder at something so much bigger than us. Stand in awe and enjoyment of the creation around us–the creation that points to an obvious creator. We were created to enjoy life, to marvel, to worship.

We are all looking for purpose and meaning. It’s part of the reason that we’re drawn to literature and art. We want to find our purpose in this life. But while we’re searching, let’s not forget that we are part of something so much bigger than us.

Let’s not forget that the same Creator who created us, created this:

And in light of this breathtaking beauty, let’s marvel. Let’s rejoice in our insignificance.

And in this, we find our purpose: We were made to wonder at art… and we were made to worship the most magnificent Artist of them all.

__________

You can follow me on twitter @bekahvalencia. Thanks for reading!

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O Holy Night’s Call for Justice

“Chains will he break/ for the slave is our brother/ and in his name/ all oppression shall cease…” -O Holy Night

O Holy Night has always been one of my favorite Christmas carols. Every lyric resonates within me–the hope for a weary world, the discovery of the worth of our soul, the birth of our Savior. The message of the song is incredible, but there’s one line I always gloss over.

When I used to sing “chains will he break, for the slave is our brother,” I would think back to hundreds of years ago. I would think back to slavery in America in the 17th and 18th century. I would sing the lines, not with a hope for the future, but with a thankfulness for what seemed to be a problem solved–an issue of the past. However, the problem is not solved. An estimated 27 million slaves are in bondage around the world today. And it’s not just somewhere else. It’s here. It’s in the U.S. It’s in Los Angeles. It’s not even just people from other countries. Girls from Los Angeles neighborhoods–girls you may have gone to school with–are forced into sex slavery every day. 

It’s so, so much more common than anyone realizes. The majority of those prostitutes you see out on the streets in Los Angeles are not there by choice. They are forced through physical and mental manipulation. They have what is called, “a chain around the brain.” Oppression and slavery exist today, all around us; it’s just hidden. Because we don’t see the physical chains, we sing the lyrics to ‘O Holy Night’ with a quick glance to our past and a brief recollection of the images we saw in our history books.

However, as I’m realizing the weight and the magnitude of this problem–of this evil–I realize the weight of these words. This problem seems so overwhelming. It’s so easy to get discouraged in the face of all we have to do. It feels as if nothing can change. That’s when these words resonate with me. “Chains shall he break.” I can’t do this on my own, we can do this on our own–but we’re not on our own. We have Jesus. He’s alive and he’s always with us.

Christmas this year is a reminder to me that he was here. Jesus took on human flesh and became one of us to save us, to set us free. He came once, and he is coming back again. One day, tears will be no more, injustice will be no more; and we will all be free.

In his name, all oppression shall cease. 

He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.” Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” -Revelation 22:20

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