ODJ: caedmon’s calling

March 13, 2015 

READ: Exodus 31:1-6 

I have filled him with the Spirit of God, giving him great wisdom, ability and expertise in all kinds of crafts (v.3).

During the eighth century, a farmhand named Caedmon served at Whitby Abbey in the north of England. One night he had an extraordinary dream. In the dream, someone asked Caedmon to sing a song about creation. Being a farmer and not a singer, he initially refused. But as the dream progressed, he did indeed compose a song praising the Creator.

The next morning, Caedmon found that he was able to recall the song. He told his foreman about the experience and the man took him to see the abbess, St. Hilda. Hilda listened carefully to Caedmon’s story and then gave him a task: produce another poem, this time based on a verse of Scripture. Caedmon returned the next day with the new poem.

Recognising Caedmon’s divine gift, Hilda ordered her scholars to teach him history and the Bible. Each day he was tasked with writing a new poem. And after a night’s reflection on the Scripture given him, we’re told that Caedmon would create verses with such “sweetness and humility” that they moved people to worship and conversion.

Many of us have believed that God calls only pastors and missionaries to do His work, not artists. We’ve wrongly thought that the gospel can be shared only through preaching, not the arts. But the Holy Spirit loves to inspire artists with songs, books, paintings and performances that reveal God’s beauty. He empowered Bezalel, Oholiab and other master artisans whose work on the temple moved people to worship and follow God (Exodus 31:1-6, 28:3; Psalm 27:4).

St. Hilda recognised Caedmon’s gifting, became his patron, gave him opportunities to learn and challenges to meet and shared his work with the world. Let’s encourage artists we know to use their gifts to God’s glory! Sheridan Voysey

365-day plan: Judges 16:1-21

Read Genesis 4:21 to discover the first musician mentioned in the Bible, and read 1 Kings 7:13-51 to learn of another often-forgotten artist. 
Have you neglected your God-given creative gift? Do you know an artist who needs encouragement and opportunities? How can you help that person get started?