Friday, January 13, 2012

Gifts Combining…

Do you remember Genesis 1? God says, “Let there be light,” and so on and so forth. And in six “days” (or billions of years, if we believe the scientists) the entire cosmos were created. Then, near the chapter’s end, God creates humankind. “Male and female, God created them, in God’s own image.” Countless commentators have since tried understanding that elusive idea. Created in God’s image. What does that mean?!

I’d be open to several interpretations, but my favorite is one that sticks closely to the text. To put it different, we should ask, “What does the author of Genesis 1 mean by that claim?” And the answer, I believe, is simple: We are creators.

After all, what has God done in the Good Book up to this point? Very little! Except, you know, create. Therefore, the image of God that we can reasonably infer in Genesis 1 is that of a Creator, a Masterful Improv Jazz Musician, a Cosmic Artist, if you prefer. It’s a very little step, then, from that to claiming the title of creators ourselves; we being created in God’s Image and all.

But hold up! Wait a minute! We’re going off the rails, right?!?! I mean, I don’t know about you, but I can’t create, you know, a world! Obviously, that’s not what the Genesis writer intends. The creative capacities of God and ours are of different magnitudes of order. Remember, we’re created in God’s image, not created as gods! But once you get past that hang-up, the idea of ‘creator’ is a wonderful self-image to adopt. Or to put it in the language of my seminary professors, we are co-creators with God. More so than any other species on our planet, we’re tasked with continuing Creation, adding beauty and wonder to the world around us, protecting the lush richness and careful balance that evolved during the eons of God’s Creation.

What that means, of course, are so many things I can’t count! How careful are you to recycle? Do your eating habits hurt Creation? How much of your income helps create meaningful living for the most vulnerable people or plants in our midst? Relevant as those questions are, however, there’s one we Plymouth Creekers are about to encounter soon. In our worship and work as a faith community, are we seeking to create more and greater beauty?

The answer is, and has been I think, a resounding Yes! I like to believe that our church enjoys exploring new music and art, fresh ways of thinking, when it comes to worshipping God and working to make God’s Kingdom come on earth. Nevertheless, we were blessed this year with a talented and dynamic intern- Lynda- whose myriad of past church experiences include worship and music leadership. Or, to put it differently, Lynda is a beloved child of God who loves- LOVES- to create, through art, through music, through many more media besides. So to help her meet her learning goals in the internship, we’ve asked her to share her creative gifts, and in doing so, help us each more joyfully express our identity of co-creators with God.

What that means, practically speaking, is that during Sunday services, throughout the up-coming month-long Cinema Sermon Series, we’ll also be learning new music, which Lynda will introduce, teach and lead. She’s quite the piano player, as you may’ve already learned. And along with our very-creative-in-her-own-right Music Minister, Jeremae, she’s been helping prepare the choir to learn these new songs. Of course, all this new stuff will mean that our worship will feel less ‘normal.’ Songs will be less familiar. Worship elements will be jumbled around. I’ll preach still, of course, and we’ll blessedly take communion. Otherwise, the month could feel like a grand experiment.

And my prayer is that will be a great and wonderful thing! One of church’s highest priorities, after all, is sharing and receiving the innumerable gifts God’s showered upon God’s co-creators. By singing and worshipping with Lynda, then, we’ll not only fulfill that mission. We may even be inspired to create beautiful outpourings of goodness and hope in our own lives as well!

Grace and Peace,

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