I remember sitting with one of my fellow students in North Carolina. I can’t exactly remember where we were sitting, but I was probably drinking Jasmine tea.
At our school, “the 18 inch journey”, our leaders had a high value for creative expression. Art classes were mandatory for everyone (pro tip: if you want to confront your fear of failure, take an art class) and we had all been sorted into collectives that taught us a craft as a creative outlet. I have always loved writing so, being in the “voice and expression” collective, I was in my element. Writing spoken word was a bit outside my comfort zone but in the course I was finding God in my craft in a way I never had before.
I was curious if my friend, who was in the “dark room photography” collective, was having a similar experience.
“I’ve been realising that there’s so much of God’s nature in writing. God writes stories too! The way He creates through words is so beautiful and as I’ve been writing stories I’ve felt so close to Him and who He is. I’m curious… have you found anything similar in photography?”
My friend smiled at me, “photography is painting with light. Who else do I know that does that?”
I recognised the glint in His eye when He said it. It’s the same one that’s in mine when I write.
That day I decided to learn photography but, more importantly, I realised that you can find God in any craft. God is a creative God and when we engage with creativity we get to see His nature reflected in ourselves.
I own a big baggy pair of pants. Actually, I own a couple (and I’d like to get more!). I like baggy pants because they look a bit daft, much like myself, and they are super comfortable. I remember buying a pair of baggy, black and white checkerboard pants a couple years ago. My Mum called them hippy pants and thought they looked hilarious. I remember the first time she saw me wearing them: “you look just like your Dad used to!” and my Dad laughing in disbelief, “I didn’t even tell you I used to wear those! You found them all by yourself?!” When I was finally shown a picture of my Dad when He was my age, wearing His own pair of hippy pants and looking a lot like me, I started grinning from ear to ear.
“I look just like my Dad…”
That’s what creativity feels like. When we find ourselves delving into a craft and coming alive, and suddenly stop to ask, who does this remind me of? Those are the moments when we feel the Father smiling over us. Can you see the family resemblance?
God and Adam, in Genesis chapter 2, are approaching the end of their creative adventure and God puts Adam to sleep. When He wakes up, He finds that God’s second masterpiece has been brought to Him for naming. I can imagine the Father’s smile as He sees the twinkle in His son’s eyes; “Yeah, this one’s a winner.”
“At last!” the man exclaimed.
“This one is bone from my bone,
and flesh from my flesh!
She will be called ‘woman,’
because she was taken from ‘man.
Adam co-creates, with God, a masterpiece, made from a piece of Himself, who looks just like him. Can you see the family resemblance? From Adam’s flesh comes Eve, just as from God’s breath came Adam.
If you haven’t learned much else from this series I hope you’ve spotted, in the nooks and crannies of your own creativity, the family resemblance. You are made to make masterpieces, because you were created in the image of a creative God.
I dare you: sit with the Holy Spirit and ask…
“What do you want to create today?”