Written by Courtney McHill, United Methodist Pastor
From the very beginning of time, God created and then God created us to be in God’s image. We are to create. God creates the universe into being in the beginning of time and at the end of time God will create to make all things new. God is and was the very first artist of all time.
When we create we join God in this creative task. Creating joins us to our own Creator. This could be a piece of art, poetry, music, dinner, or a project. I believe that these things give God great joy to connect with us in creativity.
Today we are looking at the theology of creativity and art. We especially highlight artists in our midst and join with them in creating beauty. This is a passion at the CoOp. In our vision statement one of the main tenets of the church is to support art. We say we foster learning and the arts. Why? Because we believe God resides in the art and beauty of the world. To create art is to get connected to God. We have evidence of this from Genesis but reaffirmation from our texts today.
In 2nd Chronicles, Solomon is building the new temple and he calls out for artisans to make the different facets of the temple. In order to honor God, Solomon knew that it must be full of creativity and art; it must be full of creation, and a task we are continuously called to. This call for creativity and art is speckled throughout the Hebrew Scriptures. In Exodus, Moses praises the artists and makes sure they represented. In the Psalms, great music and poetry is given to God.
In the New Testament, Jesus reminds us of God’s wide and beautiful canvas that we are planted directly into. Why should we worry when we are surrounded by God’s art? We are covered in wildflowers and birds that God has placed with us in this lovely creation. Therefore, do not worry and enjoy the art that surrounds us. We all can create and we all can find the artist within us because we are images of God.
Later, come back to the CoOp and appreciate the artists in our midst. See how God has inspired them and flown through them. See how they have represented God’s kingdom on canvas, reused materials, photographs and quilts. And then pick up some materials to create as well. Participate in the grand creation of God. I believe God will have great joy when we do.
Quotes for the Week
“The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious – the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science.” ― Albert Einstein
“If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, will answer you: I am here to live out loud.” ― Émile Zola
“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” ― Thomas Merton
“The artist must possess the courageous soul that dares and defies” ― Kate Chopin
“Despite a lack of natural ability, I did have the one element necessary to all early creativity: naïveté, that fabulous quality that keeps you from knowing just how unsuited you are for what you are about to do.” ― Steve Martin
2 Chronicles 2:7-14 (Message) Send me a master artisan in gold, silver, bronze, iron, textiles of purple, crimson, and violet, and who knows the craft of engraving; he will supervise the trained craftsmen in Judah and Jerusalem that my father provided. Also send cedar, cypress, and algum logs from Lebanon; I know you have lumberjacks experienced in the Lebanon forests. I’ll send workers to join your crews to cut plenty of timber—I’m going to need a lot, for this house I’m building is going to be absolutely stunning—a showcase temple! I’ll provide all the food necessary for your crew of lumberjacks and loggers: 130,000 bushels of wheat, 120,000 gallons of wine, and 120,000 gallons of olive oil.”
Hiram king of Tyre wrote Solomon in reply: “It’s plain that God loves his people—he made you king over them!” He wrote on, “Blessed be the God of Israel, who made heaven and earth, and who gave King David a son so wise, so knowledgeable and shrewd, to build a temple for God and a palace for himself. I’ve sent you Huram-Abi—he’s already on his way—he knows the construction business inside and out. His mother is from Dan and his father from Tyre. He knows how to work in gold, silver, bronze, iron, stone, and wood, in purple, violet, linen, and crimson textiles; he is also an expert engraver and competent to work out designs with your artists and architects, and those of my master David, your father.
Luke 12:22-29 (NRSV) Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing.Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? If then you are not able to do so small a thing as that, why do you worry about the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! And do not keep striving for what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and do not keep worrying.
Questions for the Week
Where do you find your creativity?
Where do you see God in art or art in God?
What kind of art medium calls to you? Are you called to create or appreciate?