God’s stuff, rearranged

photoMarti has a knack for arranging flowers. I can bring home anything and in about 20 minutes she’ll have it looking like the bouquet in this picture that is currently on our dinner table. For a person who is pretty high-strung, has a career in marketing and management with ADD, and little patience for anyone who isn’t moving as fast as she is, 20 minutes with a bunch of flowers is pure therapy. It’s almost contrary to her character, and yet there it is — no denying it. If she had another life, she might have her own corner flower shop. (But it would have to be another life. If it were this one, she would turn it into a franchise with hundreds of employees and the only flowers she would end up arranging would be the ones on our dinner table.)

As I think about this, it occurs to me that this is a good way to think about our creativity and how we interact with God.

God is the Creator. He’s the master. He is the only one who can speak things into existence. He can say, “Let there be light,” and there will be light — light where there was none before. Not even a switch. God brought these flowers into existence in the same way. He spoke the word and they were.

Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so (Genesis 1:11).

The flowers on my dinner table came from that word. They came from the same seed that God brought forth on that first day when He said, “Let the land produce vegetation.” Marti can’t do that — nor can anyone else — but others can plant the seed, bring it to fruition, then to market, and finally to the flower shop where I can buy them, bring them home and Marti can arrange them into a work of art.

We can’t create like the Creator, but we are in His image, so we get to create, too. He allows us this privilege whether we ever acknowledge Him or not. It’s just that our creativity relies on His for raw materials. We can interact with His creation in such a way as to arrange it in new and fresh ways. That’s all artists are doing, after all: pushing around the pieces of God’s art, and as such, we should all be humbled by the process. Privileged and humbled all at the same time. And that is why all art, regardless of who created it, is an act of worship. It’s all God’s stuff, rearranged.

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8 Responses to God’s stuff, rearranged

  1. David Morgereth says:

    Hi John – This reminds me of something Mark Heard once said in an interview. There’s an excerpt below, you can find the entire interview at http://mhlp.rru.com/am_liners.html (its from the liner notes of his “Appalacian Melody” album)

    Q: So, how can music glorify God?
    MH: Music cannot; but people can. Glorifying God means that He really gets something out of what is being sung, regardless of what people think. It’s the attitude of the singer or songwriter. Like if a kid makes his Dad a clay ashtray, and he really gives it as a gift out of love for his Dad. how can anyone have the right to say, “Gee, what a cheesy gift – what you really should give him is a tie from Neiman Marcus!”
    … The more we understand these “ordinary” things, the more we see that they are not ordinary at all, but great things, created as such and simply taken for granted by us to the point that we call them ordinary. Can you imagine a blind man who regains his sight ever taking for granted the playing of sunlight on the bark of an oak? Surely we aren’t nearly thankful enough to God for our physical senses. When man was created the earth was for his enjoyment. Man’s Fall twisted that, but we, being reborn, should strive to see and experience things as they were created to be. A lot of times I wonder what Adam would have written songs about.

    Q: So you think God’s creativity should be reflected in human experience without shame?
    MH: Yes. It is a God-given pleasure to do something creative. When God created the universe, He sat back and rested and looked and said, “It is good.” He gives us the same ability as well, though quite obviously on a different level.

    Q: Do you have any creative outlets besides music?
    MH: Yes. I love to do things with my hands. Sometimes I take them out to dinner, or to a movie, Seriously, when I get an idea for a song or a piece of furniture to build. it excites me, and I give it my best shot. When the thing is completed. I step back, look, and in a sense say, It is good.”” Of course I can’t always do that, because sometimes things don’t turn out too good. In that case. I say, “It is bad,” or “It is lousy.” But I am fulfilled in having done a creative act and I feel very thankful to God for having made us in His image. So God gets something out of it, I get something out of it and maybe somebody else gets something out of it. What’s wrong with that?

  2. bobbobs60 says:

    ALL art is an act of worship?
    That begs the question of whom the ‘artist’ is worshiping when they intentionally create something that is diametric to God and His creation…

  3. JoAnna says:

    I have trouble putting one rose in a vase, but give me a box of tangled yarn and I can make you an afghan, sweater, cap or slippers. I thank God for the talents He has given me. JoAnna

  4. Linda says:

    So, after salvation, we’re God’s stuff – rearranged!

  5. TimC says:

    Nice parable that I had never thought of before.

    The kingdom of heaven is like a bunch of flowers that a man brought home and his wife turned them into a beautiful arrangement.

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