Creativity as a Spiritual Practice
When I was a child, I was very envious of anyone who could draw, who could create a picture of a dog, a cat, or a scene from nature, like an ocean scene. I wanted to be able to do that. I thought that that was what was meant by creativity…the ability to draw or paint.
I even went so far as to send away for the artist test, that would be scored and they would let you know if you had “artistic talent”. Remember those? The ads would come through the mail. It didn’t cost anything to take the test. I always felt discouraged because the results would always come back saying I had no talent. I always equated that with creativity. Whenever I was asked about my creativity, I would respond with a sarcastic remark like, “Yeah, right. I am not at all creative.” In fact, I became anxious around art classes or when asked to participate in a creativity project/exercise.
My thinking has changed as I have journeyed through my life and I have come to know that we are all creative beings. We can use that creativity in positive or negative ways. Every day we experience something creative. That house you live in was designed by an architect. The car you drive was also created by someone. Think about all that we use every day: phones, computers, even our clothes, all created by someone. Our liturgies were created by those who lived before us. We have held them in our hearts for years as we worship God.
Recently, I learned about a saint, Ephrem of Edessa, who used song to teach others about Jesus. He lived in the fourth century. One of those hymns remains in our hymnal today. It is hymn #443.
So, what does all this have to do with us? When I think about meeting God in the neighborhood, I look around and notice all the creativity in and around the church building known as St. Patrick’s. In our neighborhood, one can see different houses of different shapes and sizes that house at least one family, perhaps more, if they are apartment houses. I see beautiful gardens, created by the gardener. Kelly, who creates wonderful pastries and cakes, made a birthday cake for my brother a couple of years ago. She decorated it with a canoe and oars crafted out of sugar. It was a work of art. She is just down over the hill from us.
Creativity is also alive and well inside the congregation among our members. We don’t just have artists among us, but are you aware that Maryann recently wrote a verse to one of our hymns we sung on Pentecost? Then there is Mark, who creates beautiful loaves of bread. I would love to make bread like that. He uses his spiritual gifts to cook, to create delicious food. Lloyd has found his creative spirit with wood. I just love the spoon and spatula that he created and that is displayed on the wall in the Shamrock room.
Our world doesn’t always honor, or even look, for creativity in our daily lives. We can make it competitive and judge it not to be as good as, or better than another’s or our own. How might our world be different, our relationships improve, if we were to meet God in our neighborhood by seeking out the spiritual gifts around us, the spiritual creative gifts that live in each of us?
I pray that you may seek and find the Creative Spirit all around and through us, and I give thanks to God for all in you!
With thanks to God, Deacon Peggy