I wonder what it is that gives someone the courage, or the will, to create. I still don’t know. As a pastor, I see it all the time. A thing created. As a mother, I see it too. I have collections of things made. To be honest, most days I try not to keep the things. Another popsicle stick tower? Thank you (I think). A paper heart necklace? Thank you, I’ll try to wear it (to bed). I don’t like feeling this way about my trove of creations. I wish I had the heart of an archivist to care for them infinitely. But I try to pay more attention to the intent than the thing - it can help keep me honest.
I knew all of this about my children, but as a pastor, I see much more. It doesn’t stop after the prolific years of childhood. I guess it might change, or slow down. But then there’s a returning. As one rounds the corner out of the throes of mid life, there is space again. More time. Fewer demands. And more . . . creating. Wire craft trees dot the shelves of one woman. Another man pulls out his watercolor pieces, stashed away gathering dust in a closet. None of these people were artists by trade. Their work was never intended for the scales of the market place. It just was there because they had to, for some reason.
I’m not willing to say that creativity is the spark of the divine, not yet. Right now, to me, it seems too much like being human - clothed in matter and earth rather than draped in heaven.
This week is Trinity Sunday and all of the songs will be steeped in holiness. Holiness is a word that quickly loses it’s traction. It feels so far away. What else is holy in our culture besides the other four letter word? So why this word when we move into Trinity Sunday? The texts are actually in deep conversation about what exactly this “godhead” is. Is God the Three-in-One all powerful and mighty like the great Isaiah 6 text? Is God the Three-in-One ethereal Spirit like the John 3 text? And then there’s Paul in Romans 8. With this: “the spirit that bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.” The sense, the hunch, the feeling, or even the confirmation, that God is present comes not from outside us but from within, from the resting place of our very own spirits. Here, in Paul’s own words, we have this description of communication between God and the human, and it’s cradled in flesh - in our flesh.
This is not an empirical exploration of how that works, nor is it proof that it will happen, can happen, or is happening in you. Not everyone can attest to this experience - and I’m not even sure that I can always tell you when or if this is happening with me. But right now, on Trinity Sunday, I want to notice that the communication in us is happening. Not up, but in. And in us. According to Paul, there’s no “us” where it’s not happening. It’s in-us.
This might have nothing to do with creativity. But, then, I wonder, what else can take us into the landscape of the spirit? How else do we get there, to those inner parts, without the assistance and accidents of our creation? In the process of its unfolding we get the privilege of seeing what was there - in us, but hidden.
Perhaps what we’re seeing on those shores of creative flotsam and jetsam is part of the landscape of the Trinity itself. Even down to the last paper heart necklace and wire craft tree. It is that very spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God. The human privilege is to listen to the cadence of that call and response, but there are no words for it. So we make a thing.