Breathing to the Glory of God

February 23, 2022 by The Greenhouse

Guest Column

Every creative person has mentors who were instrumental in laying the foundation for creativity, who shaped us in ways that made us who we are. We’ve been thinking about those people in our own lives, and so we decided to track some of them down and ask one of our favorite questions: “What is the most important thing for a creative professional to know?” And we’re getting some rather deep responses from various points of view.

Rev. Thomas Crumb is the pastor at the First Congregational Church of Pomfret in Connecticut and was the vocal coach to The Greenhouse’s president & creative director, Shun Lee Fong, when they both lived in the Midwest. Pastor Thomas pursued musical studies at the Baldwin Wallace Conservatory in Berea, Ohio, from which he received a bachelor’s degree in music, and then continued on to the prestigious Yale School of Music, where he obtained his Master of Music degree. He also received his Master of Divinity degree from the Conservative Baptist Seminary of the East. Along with his ministerial responsibilities, he still performs in musical and theatrical productions, and so it’s no surprise he approaches the question of what is important to artists from the perspective of both an artist and a minister! Check out his insightful response below…

Pastor Thomas, what is the most important thing for a creative professional to know?

“Stop and take a breath!” Perhaps you’ve had a friend or family member share those friendly, familiar words with you. Indeed, it is worthwhile to “take a breather” when pressure and stress are mounting, when important decisions must be made or when significant words must be spoken. Breath is fundamental to life. In fact, when the God who spoke and exhaled all of creation into being fashions the pinnacle of his creation, he not only “takes a breath” and breathes out saying, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness,” he also “takes a breath” as he “breathes into his nostrils the breath of life, and man becomes a living creature.” Human beings are living creatures who, on average, take some 20,000 breaths per day!

Among others, vocal artists, wind players, and dancers all know that controlled breathing lies at the core of their artistic expression. A lifetime is spent mastering an understanding of the physiology and mechanics of breath control, increasing lung capacity, controlling the diaphragm, regulating the flow of air. Phenomenally, for those who are co-creators with God and who seek to promote and proclaim his glory through their art, there is both a physical and a spiritual dimension to the act of breathing in and breathing out.

Although the Old and New Testaments of the Bible were originally written in two different languages, both the Hebrew and Greek words for breath are synonymous with the word for spirit. Unlike anything else God makes, God animates his human creation by infusing it with his own breath/spirit. Multiple millennia later, on the other side of Jesus’s redemptive work at Calvary, God pours his spirit into his people in a new way that is initially accompanied with the sound of a “mighty rushing wind.” This powerful movement of air brings the relationship of breath and spirit front and center in an unmistakable and unforgettable way.

Those who dedicate their lives to seeing, savoring, and sharing the glory of God as they seek to communicate truth through music, dance, and other artistic media are unique instruments in God’s hand. He breathes his spirit into us, we release his spirit through song and movement asking him to use our efforts to touch and enrich the lives of others. Though the life of the apostle Paul does not appear to have had much intersection with the world of the performing arts, his command in Colossians 3:16 offers a good place for those who breathe in and breathe out the spirit of God to drop anchor: Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

Let the word of Christ, the breath of Christ, the spirit of Christ live and abide in you richly. Let each of them accomplish its perfect work as it changes you from one degree of glory to another by leading you to grow in grace and godliness. In turn, ask the enabling power of God’s spirit to breathe out through you and ignite his passion and his power in the spirits of those before whom you speak, sing, or perform. Breathe to the glory of God!

The Greenhouse

The Greenhouse Staff is made up of volunteers who spend their time and talents giving back to the arts & entertainment industry and community. These volunteers love to see creative professionals succeed.

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