I ‘discovered’ these tiny images in the paint I’d mixed in two discarded paint palettes. They’re accidental images if you will. They spoke to me about how we need a place to be safe, to be ourselves and reminded me of the Bob Dylan ‘Shelter from the Storm’ lyric:
“T’was in another lifetime, one of toil and blood, where blackness was a virtue and the road was full of mud, I came in from the wilderness a creature void of form, come in she said I’ll give you shelter from the storm”… Maybe the process of ‘creating‘ can reveal as much about God as what’s created.
Perhaps God can use our workings, our playings, as well as our finished creations to reveal his heart to us and to bless others. Its not always the end result or the finished product (judged good or bad by ourselves and others) but, in the case of the palette images, the process itself that reveals.
Maybe we should focus on the process of painting… as much as the finished picture? then we don’t have to worry ourselves so much as to whether the pictures are ‘good enough’, or if we’re ‘artistic enough’ or if what we create is of any earthly value? and maybe God can use our workings to reveal things to us, and to bless others while were simple playing at what we love to do.
How about focusing on the process bread making… and not the bread? then we don’t have to worry ourselves as to whether we’re a baker and allowed to be making bread!
Focus on the dancing, and don’t worry about whether you’re a dancer or not.
Focus on the playing, and don’t worry about whether you’re a musician.
Focus on the writing, and don’t worry about whether you’re an author.
Focus on the listening, and don’t worry about whether you’re a councellor.
Focus on the organising, and don’t worry about whether you’re a manager.
Focus on the teaching, and don’t worry about whether you’re a preacher.
Are we all creative?
Bread making often creates community, images, sound and words create vehicles for God to speak through, listening creates space for people to be, organising creates efficiency, teaching creates the opportunity to learn. God can use what you do as a vehicle to reveal himself. for God to speak through . All these activities, all this doing, all this acting creates the opportunity.
You, being you, creates.
You are creative.
As Aline Lidwell noted in Genesis “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth… So God created mankind in his own image”. God created… and he made us in his image… so we are creative”.
What is your ‘ing’
What’s the first command? Matthew 22: 37-40 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Acts 20:28 English Standard Version (ESV) 28 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.
So spend a little time on getting to know you and what you love. Then maybe we’ll begin to express God through what we are and what we do in life. I’m reminded of the Tim Hughes song ‘Everything’: “God in my living, there in my breathing God in my waking, God in my sleeping God in my resting, there in my working God in my thinking, God in my speaking…”
Do what you love…
Do whatever you are enthusiastic about irrespective of your ‘skill level’ (Enthuse=of God), and let God reveal himself to you… and others in that doing.
So go and play, with what ever you enjoy doing or are enthusiastic about and let God reveal himself to you… and others. Focus on the process, have a play and let God speak to you, be God’s messenger and share with others the ‘ings’ that you do.
Isn’t there a section in Acts that speaks of people meeting and bringing what they had according to their gifts?Maybe we have to allow ourselves to release our gifts by doing what we love, what we’re enthusiastic, what God has seeded in us.
Does God exist even when we don’t act? Do we want to take the risk?
So if God uses us when we act, what happens when we don’t?
“For this is what the Lord has commanded us:‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth’” (Acts 13:47)
How do we encourage this action
I so want there to be a place where we can start from here. from where we are, from what we are, to be included and of use and have a part to play in a greater picture, in a greater vision. I want to see a world in which every single person is connected to their vision themselves, that they know who they are and that they are valued for that, that they feel part of a greater plan, that they have purpose, that God’s heart is revealed, that everyone finds a place and a way (wace) and finds a peace with God in their hearts.
Perhaps God, or love, can be revealed through anything… when we do what we love, I believe we begin to fully inhabit our place in God’s world and bring the body of Christ to life.
So maybe we can find ourselves through acting out what we’re enthusiastic about, through playing, through the ‘ing’ that sits within us? We can only know ourselves in community, in relation to others. Oh how I long for that place, with doors flung open, a seat ready for my rest, an ear ready for my thoughts a hand ready for my guide a word ready for my mind, a smile ready for my need. So that we may be transformed, that the world may be transformed through us. That the body of Christ would be revealed in all its glory…. “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John: 13,35
Is it worship?
Is worship just thanking God? If worship brings glory to God and if you use your ‘ing’ to encourage, comfort, and strengthen and reveal the glory of God, then are all these ‘ings’ maybe an act of worship? Dancing, painting, listening… our living as an act of worship?
“I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable, or well pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12 1-2
I see the process of creation, of doing of a life lived well, as an act of worship, inviting God into the process, looking for God’s revelation in the process. I received revelation, not in a finished painting but in the discarded palette.
Lets just call it worship for now, its an act of doing something (painting) as an act of worship. An honest expression to the glory of God that he may choose to reveal something to us through that may bless the world and strengthen our relationship and our understanding of him.
why not have a go at this for starters.