For those of you who haven't subscribed to Littleton's podcast, we've been on an eternal journey through the book of Exodus. There are only 3 more Sundays in the series, which will end up being a 6 month process.
I love the book of Exodus. It's message must be heard by the church today. Our God is a God who stands with the poor and oppressed and frees his people. But as we've found out during the series, God doesn't free people to become autonomous. He frees them from taskmasters in order to serve the best master possible. As Paul says in Romans 1, we're going to be slaves to something. We might as well choose a loving God rather than an abusive overlord.
Anyway, this past Sunday was one of the best Sundays we've had during the series. It was awesome! The sermon was entitled "Creative Arks" (sometimes brilliant titles just come to me) out of Exodus 31:1-11 & 35:30-36:7.
In these passages, Bezalel is the first person in Scripture who is described as being filled with the Spirit of God. Now, why would God choose to give the Spirit first to a creative man who works with his hands?
Well, that leads me to another question. If we serve a creative God and have creative members created in the image of God, then why is church not considered the most creative place on earth?
The church has always been a bit leery of art. Christians certainly weren't encouraged to go to the theater in the early centuries. And then there was that whole thing about mutilating the nude statues all over Europe. For some reason, we've launched our creative people to do their creative projects in the secular world, but we can't imagine that has anything to do with our sacred rituals on Sunday morning. But God never separated the sacred and secular. That was our project.
And then there's those of us who don't think we have a creative bone in our body. Many of us don't think of ourselves as creative, but that's because we've conceived of creativity all wrong. We've confused creativity with artistry.
But let me assure you, not all artists are creative. Just because you're not artistic, doesn't mean you're not creative. And just because you are artistic doesn't mean you are creative. There are many artists out there who only imitate others because their fear of failing to step out and create on their own is so great that they never create the beautiful picture that God has born within them.
The interesting thing about creativity is that if you don't create what you were intended to create, it will never be created. You have a unique creation within you that won't be born if you don't create it. If Bheetoven wouldn't have written his 5th, it wouldn't have been written. If Leonaro da Vinci hadn't birthed the Mona Lisa, we wouldn't have her. If Michelangelo hadn't carved The David out of stone, it wouldn't exist. If Michael Jordan hadn't committed to basketball, we'd still hail another as the greatest to have ever played the game. If Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King Jr., and Dieterich Bonhoeffer hadn't stood against oppression, the kingdom would have never been unleashed to the same degree.
God created you to create. Don't let fear keep you from birthing the beautiful gift has born within you.
Sunday was the kind of service you pray will come together. We displayed quilts, photographs, paintings, books, stamps, and cross stitches that were each original creations from people within our congregation. Two youth group girls painted a picture as I was preaching. And the Spirit of God filled the room on Sunday.
The question is: Will the Spirit of God breathe life into dry bones Monday through Saturday?
Look around...You might just get your answer.