Usually I ask myself that question when we're a few days away from performance and I wonder if it will ever turn out right and some disaster has just befallen us and I tell myself, 'never again.' But today, in a calm mood, I ask, Why the arts?
I think it has to do with two things: our hard-wired desire for narrative and our innate desire to create.
I read last year that some neuroscientists had discovered that our brains our hard-wired for narrative. That means we like to take in information through stories. When you read an article, which do you remember the most, the facts or the anecdotes? God knows this, of course, and that's why the Bible contains more narrative than exposition, and why Jesus taught so much through stories. Stories reach us through our hearts as well as through our heads, and can touch us in ways that a simple lecture or sermon cannot.
If we are made in God's image and if God is the Creator, then He must have given us the ability, and the desire, to be creative. People create in all sorts of ways, through the arts and through technology (think of Edison and how his creativity led to electricity in all our homes), even through how we teach and communicate. Musical theatre is an art form that combines several of the arts: acting, singing, storytelling and writing, music and song-writing, dancing, set design and costumes, lighting, even joke-telling . . .
Our desire is to use this wonderful, exciting, narrative, and collaborative art form to tell stories that not simply entertain, but that enlighten and encourage, and that give honor to the Creator and Redeemer of us all. That's what the arts are for: to draw us toward God and to give glory to God.