Editors Note: For most of August I am on vacation, spending some much needed time recharging my batteries and enjoying time with the family. I knew I was going to be away from my computer for some time so I went out searching for some great guest posters to help keep this blog active while I am away. I am so excited to welcome my friend Rev. Susan Mattinson as a guest on my blog. Susan is the incoming pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Thunder Bay Ontario and she is the creative power behind Pastor Shep. Pastor Shep is a very funny comic lightly poking fun at ministers. I look forward to her new comic every Monday.
I could write about what it’s like to be a pastor and an artist, but that’s not what really comes up when a person sees me working on an art project. Instead, I will often hear some variation of “I’m not creative”; or, “I don’t have an imagination like that”. This saddens me, because I know that’s a lie. Those people may not even realize that they’re lying, but they are. Here’s why…
“I’m not creative.”
Genesis 1:27 tells us: “So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them”. If God is Creator, and we are made in God’s image, then we are—in our very essence—creators. Of course, there is the difference between the capital ‘C’ Creator, and the lower-case ‘c’ creator; God creates from absolutely nothing, while we create from the materials he has provided to us. But the fact of the matter is this: We all have within ourselves a spark of divine creativity. Even if we have never produced a “work”, we are still in our essence artists. When we do open ourselves to the expression of creativity, whatever form that might take, we are also opening ourselves to the movement of God within us. Painting, sculpting, dancing, drawing, photography, etc. can all open us up to the movement of God within us, but so can gardening, hiking, house cleaning, carpentry, cooking, mechanic work—the list goes on and on. It’s not a matter of what we do, but how we do it that makes an artist. When we allow the Holy Spirit to breathe into the things we do, we find ourselves creating.
“I don’t have an imagination like that.”
But you do have an imagination. In fact, by the time you read this blog you will have used your imagination at least one-hundred times today. In his book, Scribbling in the Sand, Michael Card says that “In reality, none of us can accomplish anything without first imagining it (except in the case of breathing, I suppose), whether it’s getting up from the sofa for a snack or building a rocket ship to Mars. For a split second we imagine ourselves reaching for a cup of cold water, and then we do it. We imagine which healing (or hurtful) words we might say to a friend (or an enemy), and then in the next instant, they are spoken, never to be called back. Our imaginations are involved in every area of our lives, in everything we do or say or are”. It makes perfect sense, then, that the Bible encourages us to “take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5). Not only does a sanctified imagination help us to overcome sin, but it also opens the door to new ways of glorifying God. It’s about more than drawing pictures that we see in our heads, or making up fantastical creatures for the fun of it. With our imaginations, we can see not just what is, but what could be. We enter into the realm of Potential, walking arm-in-arm with Hope, towards God’s perfect will for his creation.
I’d say, “We need more creative people in the church”, but that would also be a lie. Our churches are already filled to the brim with creative people; they’re just waiting to be identified and encouraged.