A Gamboge Gestalt

Gesamtkunstwerk

It's kind of like a movie but broader, if that makes sense. Forgive my simplistic definition but I am going to seek to analogize it as such. Whereas with the gesamtkunstwerk, you're working with music and art and synthesizing them on the stage to achieve something greater than the sum of their parts, the same could be said for the motion picture. Sound and music. Visuals. Storytelling. All played out on a screen that's larger than life. Feel free to look it up and shout me down but also follow me a bit more down this rabbit trail as I'm seeking to define it.

"That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;" (Colossians 1:10)

"I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."(John 10:10a)

The literal translation of gesamtkunstwerk is "total work of art". Coined by German composer Richard Wagner, the word sums up the idea that all constituent parts of the opera were to work together towards its expression as a whole. Nothing wasted, in other words. As I read up on the word, having just heard it the other day, I suppose it's something that is now taken for granted. Why wouldn't someone want all the art and music to flow and coalesce into one broad stroke (figuratively speaking)? I also read that the idea (with different letters no doubt) is something the Ancient Greeks sought to employ for their dramatic arts. But for me, as I do stray into thinking that sometimes there's this overarching story being written about me (by God), the word fits. And I can also pronounce it.

"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end." (Jeremiah 29:11)

But what does this look like for your life? For mine? The broad strokes are there. The gestalt of my childhood, punctuated with bright spots of color and sharp, discordant tones. Each moment that I remember as it integrates into what I am now. It also helps to feel that there's a happy ending to it all. But that in itself is more a distraction if I'm not living in the present. I believe God wants to write and/or redefine everything you've encountered and everything you've yet to do into the gesamtkunstwerk that He is writing about you. Even the hellish spots. The blemishes you can't bear to read or look at. Life is a work of art. And the Lord knows exactly how to refract His beauty into a situation in order to cause it to bear fruit. The miracle of forgiveness and understanding and therefore direction. This is where I equate the whole of life to a movie being played out.

"Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses..." (Hebrews 12:1a)

Life is like a movie, not just because we're being watched by God, but because as believers we have the same script from which we're living. And that is, God loves you. Now work it in.

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Josh Ingram

I started writing a blog in the Summer of 2011 and I find myself many years later, doing the same thing. Really, I found myself somewhere in the aforementioned process and so now it’s just polish and refinement. I write whenever the Spirit moves me. In other words, uh, hebdomadally. Okay, word. Word.