Breadcrumbs of Grace: Seeing the Gospel in Art

It’s hard to write an article about a wordsmith.

Andrew Peterson is a sculptor of sentences, a gifted singer/songwriter, and a delighter in all things beautiful and true.

Striving to marvel ever more greatly over the mysteries of God and His greatness, Andrew creates sound with purpose. He has 17 albums, several of which debuted in or reached the top 10 of Billboard’s Top Christian Albums, and is the author of The Wingfeather Saga series, currently being animated for the screen.

Prior to our meeting, like any journalist, I researched the 42-year-old Illinois native, listened to his music, read his blogs, looked at pictures of his beautiful wife and their three cute kids, and discovered we share a mutual love for C. S. Lewis, Oxford, and vibrant literature. What my research failed to tell me was how extraordinarily kind and unassuming he would be.

On the morning of our interview, Andrew walked into Centricity’s small media house in Franklin, Tennessee, and introduced himself, as if we wouldn’t know he was the person we drove three hours to interview.

He was well dressed, well read, well spoken, and well mannered. His words were kind, his posture open. His tone was light, his humor on point. He praised others and spoke little of himself. He gazed at the world with eyes ready to see magnificence in this arena of beauty in which we live.

Andrew Peterson taught me to wonder.

For me, he was a human version of Claritin®, the antihistamine that clears allergies from impairing your vision. I left Franklin with eyes that seemed to see the world a little brighter than before.

This was in part due to his easy going nature and in part due to his obvious love for “the jewel of the Gospel” and the miracle of grace, something that hasn’t ceased amazing him though 33 years have elapsed since 9-year-old Andrew made a public confession of faith in Christ and was, as he put it, “humiliated in baptism.”

“The beautiful paradox of the Gospel is that as you begin to realize how broken you are and how desperately you need Jesus, the level of wonder and appreciation for how deeply He loves you increases,” he said. “I think that is all sanctifying so that the older you get the more you grow in grace. The church talks about growing in grace, that’s a growing in a deeper understanding of how badly you need grace. Then what you get is a saint. The saints are the rascals that walk through the world with this astonishment that God really does love them like He says. That’s what I hope for myself.”

After a short time listening to Andrew it was apparent that he, like Victor Hugo’s Bishop Myriel in Les Miserables, “did not [just] study God; he was dazzled by Him.”

This heavenly bedazzling, which often results from study, is something that won’t reach completion this side of heaven, a reality Andrew feels keenly.

“I’m still on an ongoing cycle of sin, self-hatred, the wrong kind of repentance, followed by these evidences through people, through communion, through church, through books that I read, whatever it may be, of God continuing to push back against that deep-rooted assumption I have about who I am and who He is. It’s ongoing, and every time I’m a little more astonished by grace.”

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