Day 20 | This Lent is for Creativity

"The heavens declare the glory of God,
    and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech,
    and night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words,
    whose voice is not heard."

- Psalm 19:1-3

In the beginning, God created. And man, as an image bearer of God, has been creating ever since. Finding intermittent spots of joy in my days lately as I hear about people and families who are rediscovering their creative side (for obvious reasons) - picking up guitars or ukuleles, pulling out paints and paper, singing together, dancing, getting their hands in the earth in the garden, cultivating life.  Maybe even receiving a little back too. Engaging the creative lands us square in the territory of trying to express something of the wonder, awe, and mystery of God. We become like a child again. We play.

Reminded me today of a book called The Artisan Soul by Erwin McManus whose premise is that every single person is created for creativity and that it's part of our spiritual heritage to delight in creating for and with each other. Though he admits that often by adulthood so many have abandoned it as a value.

"We were raised to believe that our place in life required compliance and conformity rather than creativity and uniqueness. We have been raised in a world where information is deemed far more important than imagination. Adults replaced dreams with disciplines when they were finally ready to grow up and be responsible for their lives.

Whether this construct was reinforced on an assembly line, in a cubicle, or in a classroom, the surest path to acceptance in society is accepting standardization, and we more than willingly relinquish our uniqueness. I have wondered if it was actually easier before the Industrial Revolution to understand our relationship with the creative process. Farmers, after all, understood the direct relationship between hard work and creation. They worked the soil; they planted the seeds; they watered the crops; and they watched life happen. They understood that they were integral to the creative act, even though few farmers would have described it that way. The same could be said for any number of craftsmen - the cobbler, the blacksmith, the carpenter. Their livelihood was not far removed from simple expressions of their artistry."

In some ways the cultural state we're currently facing is reminiscent of pre-Industrial Revolution times.  Yes, we're relying on tech now more than ever to gather and connect us with our distant friends and family, but with physical confinement life feels in some ways much, much slower, reduced of the noise we'd gotten so accustomed to and the 8 trillion ways we can consume and medicate our way out of just about any uncomfortable thought or feeling that might have been haunting us.

McManus goes on to explain that "fear is the shadow of creativity."

He says - "When we choose to create, we bring light to our fears. The darkness does not prevail over us. The creative act is inherently an act of courage. We are born to far too many fears and far too great a darkness. It is only when we find the courage to create that we are freed from those fears and that darkness." Which is one of the reasons I personally believe we're seeing such a renaissance of people returning to the work of their hands, imaginations, and storytelling capacities. While there's a certain practicality in wanting to fill our home-bound time with a variety of activities, there's more to it than attempting to elude boredom. There's something profound and powerful about picking up a tool - whether pen, paintbrush, camera, or melody - to speak life and story, beauty and goodness into the space around us. It gives us a little bit of ourselves back and reminds us that we were created to "have dominion" over the created world around us, as God's shepherding agent on earth.  

So a question - What one small space of creativity might you be able and willing to engage this week as you process what's going on in the world around you? Writing a paragraph or two as the start of a fiction story perhaps? Taking out some paintbrushes and adding color to a blank canvas? Stopping by Molbak's to bring home some spring flowers and add them to the earth in your front yard?

And a final thought if this intimidates you and you're normally someone who's quick to tell people you're "not really the creative type"... When God sat back at the end of his magnificent six days of creation, his word to describe it was simply - "Good." His creation was good. Not GREAT. Or excellent or brilliant. He chose "good." Which should be good enough for the rest of us, too. Just shoot for "good" and take a nice rest to enjoy it when you're done.  

Freedom and Grace,
Andrea Baker
Worship Director

Listen to our worship song of the day, Wonder, below or find it here on Spotify on our 2020 Lenten Worship Playlist, growing daily one song at a time.
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Steve - March 22nd, 2020 at 9:54am

In the beginning...

nothing

In the beginning...

darkness

In the beginning...

void

In the beginning...



Creation!



Out of nothing...

something

Out of darkness...

light

Into the void there entered...



Expression!



God spoke.

Released his Word.

Expressed himself.

And out of that expression...



Life!



By expressing,

by creating,

God revealed himself.

God shared himself.

God released himself.



For in expressing is uncertainty.

In expressing is risk.

In expressing is vulnerability.

In expressing is truth.

In expressing is connection.

In expressing is identity.

In expressing is...



Life!



Father, today I will share myself.

In the vulnerability of creating,

I will reveal myself.

I will take joy,

I will find joy,

In creating.

In expressing what's inside me.

Lord, today I will reveal my truth.

Today I will reveal my identity in you.

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