By Tracy Jessup
“It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to your name, O Most High; to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night, to the music of the lute and the harp, to the melody of the lyre. For you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work; at the works of your hands I sing for joy.” (Psalm 92:1-2, 4)
According to a June 1, 2021, Newsweek story, “Anything can be a work of art, even nothing.” The article proceeds to report that “Italian artist Salvatore Garau recently auctioned an invisible sculpture for 15,000 euros ($18,300). According to as.com, the sculpture’s initial price was set between 6,000 and 9,000 euros; however, the price was raised after several bids were placed.
Titled ‘Io Sono’ (Italian for ‘I am’), the 67-year-old artist’s sculpture is ‘immaterial,’ meaning that the sculpture does not actually exist. Though he’s received much critique for the sale, Garau argues that his work of art isn’t ‘nothing,’ but is instead a ‘vacuum.’
Italy 24 News reported that per Garau’s instructions, the sculpture must be displayed in a private home free from any obstruction, in an area that is about 5 ft. long by 5 ft. wide. Because the piece does not exist, there are no special lighting or climate requirements. Multiple outlets report that the only tangible item the buyer will receive is a certificate of authentication that is both signed and stamped by Garau” (Sara Santora, “Italian Artist Sells Invisible Sculpture for More Than $18,000,” newsweek.com, 6/1/21).
In today’s passage, the Psalmist gives thanks to the Lord and sings for joy for things both tangible and intangible – seen and unseen. He is inspired by God’s creative activity. Reminiscent of Psalm 8:3 and Psalm 104:24, the Psalmist looks at the heavens – the moon and the stars that God has established – and then marvels at the vastness of God’s creation.
However, there are times in which God’s ways are incomprehensible. The prophet Isaiah reminds us that God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, nor are God’s ways, our ways (55:8). We cannot fully grasp the activity of God, but we can trust two important attributes of God’s character – his steadfast love and faithfulness. And as we delight in God’s creative activity and divine nature, we, too, will come to realize that it is good to give thanks to the Lord and to sing praises to God’s name. To paraphrase Michael Wilcock in The Message of Psalms 73-150, we can sing for joy at what we know of the deeds and works and thoughts of God, aware of the acts of God in history and in our own experience (pp. 81-82).
You can be the judge as to whether or not Garau’s “I am” expresses something as a work of art, but there can be no question that our God, whose name is “I AM,” is worthy of worship and praise.
Prayer: Lord, reflecting on who you are and what you have done brings joy and gladness to our hearts, and we worship you.
Dr. Tracy Jessup serves as vice president for Christian Life and Service and senior minister to the University. He is a graduate of Gardner-Webb with a B.A. in Music and earned his M. Div. degree at Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School. He completed his Ph.D. at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He also teaches in the undergraduate department of religious studies and enjoys the opportunity to serve the local church through interim pastorates, pulpit supply, and preaching revival services. he and his wife, Teresa, have two children, Christian and Anna.
Read more Good Christian News from Dr. Jessup HERE.