Clergy Notes — November 17, 2019

The Culture Crawl is this weekend, so the Eastside will be crawling with creativity!

As human beings we are creative by nature, as Christians we believe this is because we are made in God’s image, and God is our creator! You don’t have to prowl through the studios in East Vancouver to find God’s creativity. You see it when you step outside, or when you look in the mirror!

Our opinions on art are subjective. Have you ever looked at a painting or sculpture with a friend and thought “this is rubbish,” while they are enamoured with its beauty? Or listened to a piece of music that moved you to tears, while your spouse asked you to “turn off that racket!” We may not find the beauty in things that others do, but God sees the beauty in all creation.

“God is creativity.

There’s something intrinsic to how God is conceived in the Bible that pulses with creativity.

In the beginning God created…

In the Hebrew imagination, the creative act of this God takes place first through speech. God, in Genesis 1 is a poet generating worlds. God says, ‘Let there be light,’ and there is light.

In Genesis 2, we see God crossing artistic genres. In the creation story of Genesis 2, God is not a poet, but a sculptor and gardener, too.

God makes the heavens and the earth, forms the first human from the dust, breathes into the human’s nostrils the breath of life, plants a garden in Eden, and makes fruitful trees grow…

John’s gospel picks this up the divine-creative theme centuries later: ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God, through him all things were made.’

Christ the Word, or in the Hebrew Bible, the Wisdom-Sophia, is present at creation, birthing and making and creating life….

In Jesus’ incarnation, life, death, and resurrection, God is revealed through all of human experience, which means that God is not only present in the typically beautiful or pretty things.

Or, rather, maybe God’s beauty contains the tragedy and the pain. Karl Barth says, ‘God’s beauty embraces death as well as life, fear as well as joy, what we might call ugly as well as what we might call the beautiful.’

All of the arts, and ultimately all of reality, is an invitation to encounter God’s presence in the death, life, fear, joy, ugliness, and beauty of our own lives and world.”

Excerpt from On Christianity, God as Creativity, and the Arts by Mark Longhurst. ( Accessed 14th November 2019).