God in “Sin-City”

by Clark Roush, Ph.D.

My wife and I recently returned from our first trip to Vegas. It was a great “vacay,” but held some surprises I had not anticipated. Those surprises seem to hover between the art, faith, and life this blog is focused on. What follows is my reflection on the experiences.

We checked into The Venetian – what an aesthetic experience! They have recreated Venice, Italy and we couldn’t go anywhere without seeing great art, canals with gondolas/gondoliers, great music – it was just visually and emotionally stunning!

We saw a Monet exhibit! Talk about great art. It traced his development up through his full-blown “impressionistic” works. I saw pieces I had not seen before. It truly was a great artistic experience.

We were able to partake of the some of the finest food we’ve ever eaten. We “sampled the goods” at restaurants owned by Mario Batalli, Wolfgang Puck, and Thomas Keller. It was epicurean ecstasy!

The events that were so incredibly enriching and fulfilling to me were the stage shows we saw. We were blessed to see Cirque du Soleil’s “LOVE”, an artistic extravaganza featuring Beatles’ music. Two evenings later we witnessed Celine Dion’s breathtaking show.

I appreciate you allowing me to chronicle these, because they serve as the backdrop for the deeply moving experiences I had! It had been a while since I had seen a perfect production – let alone two. I was moved to tears at both shows, and they fed my apparently parched artistic soul as I could not have anticipated. I got goosebumps looking at the Monet’s; I marveled at the architecture and beauty of the hotel; I was astounded that people could take “normal” food and transform it as they did!

All of these were part of me experiencing God in “sin-city.” How is that, you might ask? Well, where did all these gifts come from? Performers at the apex of their careers, incredible history-changing art, food that has to be described as artistic – they all come from the giver of good gifts – God! I am not saying every performer, architect, entrepeneur, chef, etc… is a “believer,” What I’m saying is that I am, and because of that, I was able to be fed by God in ways only He could know I needed. He used the gifts He gave others to restore so many aspects of my artistic spirit that I could do nothing but weep and express gratitude to God.

This made me wonder how many times I limit God by only looking for Him in “religious” things. He is the God of all, whether or not others attribute that to Him as I do. I believe we can find aspects of Him that reconnect us to Him in all art forms – He is a Creator – why wouldn’t other creating acts possess the possibility of showing us aspects of Him?

I am grateful for the renewal, and will continue to feed my soul more consistently. I will also continue to look deeply for God in all aspects of life. I think I’ll be better for it!