Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Created to Create Together

This past weekend, after church, two of my friends and I went over to the main campus (the service we attend is at a movie theatre, then our church has a traditional church building we call either the "main" or "north" campus) to meet with the music director to rehearse for the next week's service. My two friends had sung for worship services in the past, and last month I had played my ukulele. Our music director was excited to get all of us together to play one day.

What happened that afternoon was magical. Granted, it could have been several factors. The fact we are all good friends and have known each other for years probably played into it. We know each other well, act ridiculously silly around one another, and have no qualms about spending an extra few hours away from home to hang out. It was also daylight savings time, so we were all still sleepy and yet on our second, third, or maybe even fourth cups of coffee. It also could have been that we've all been playing and singing music for years. While I may have only been playing ukulele for a little over six months, I've been playing music since I was nine. I'm sure the other women in our little foursome have similar stories.

We laughed, had fun, played, sang, and bounced around ideas. The singers blended together so well we couldn't tell who was who. We threw another instrument into the mix. Someone suggested different riffs to play in instrument solos. Different harmonies were added in.

Our music director was so excited she said, "this is what being in an actual band is like. Working together, making your own arrangements, being creative."

It was exciting. Most worship teams are only able to get the songs, maybe have one or two rehearsals before Sunday morning, then lead the congregation. (In fact, the first time I played for my church I was only able to rehearse the morning of.) Nothing is wrong with this. The purpose of the worship team is to lead the congregation in singing and worship. That's what matters.

But, being able to truly collaborate and having the opportunity to create something great, it's a gift.

Earlier that morning, one of the points our pastor brought up having the Spirit of the Lord in us and how part of that is having the God who created everything in us. A Spirit of creativity. It's a topic I tend to think about a lot, so it was nice to hear one of my pastors having the same thoughts.

There's a lot of wonder and thought about what it means to be "created in God's image." In Genesis, when it says God created man, it says, "Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness" (Gen. 1:26). It's confusing because it's not about what we look like. It's God... he doesn't necessarily look like anything. So what does it mean we're made in his image?

I have two ideas of what it could mean. The first is what one of my professors in college would say. The "us" in the verse, is the Holy Trinity. (Father, Son, Holy Spirit.) Not just a single aspect of God. All three parts of him. Also, God is love. We're made to be in relationship with others and to love and to have those part of us. We're created to be in community.

I also think we're created to create. The entire Bible begins with God being creative. Making things. Thinking stuff up that hadn't been there before. God invented creativity. I think he put that spirit in us as well.

So, imagine what it's like when you put the two things together.

So many times we think of the creative process being a solitary one. Especially for writers. Locked up in a cold room somewhere (maybe in Paris) with fingerless gloves typing away at the keyboard until their masterpiece of a novel is completed. Which, maybe for some writers that works. I believe one of the Bronte sisters (forgive me for not remembering which one right now) was in fact incredibly solitary but was able to create a beautiful piece of literature.

But for most of us, I don't think it always works that way.

As we were rehearsing on Sunday, we were working on this one song "Because He Lives (Amen)." It's a newer song and two of us had only played it once the previous month. It was a great song. There was something about it which brings everyone in. My friend then noticed who had written it.

It had been a collaborative piece. When she looked at all of the names, they were the names of the greats. The people who had changed the game of worship music back in the 70s and started the whole contemporary worship movement. There were names of musicians who are still changing the game now. They all had come together to write this song.

Amazing things happen when creative people get together to make something.

It's why I get so excited for my writing dates with friends so we can help each other with our novels and bounce ideas off of each other. It's why so many bloggers and YouTubers love to do collab projects with other people. It's why I think I'm in love with listening to covers of popular songs or mash-ups of pieces of music. Or when I worked in the church office we would take over each others offices and sit for a while and just brainstorm ideas for the pastor's sermon or a Bible study or class we were getting ready for.

Yes, sometimes we need to be creative alone. I can't have someone write my novel or my blog posts for me. An artist can't hand over their paint brush and let someone else do it for them.

But ultimately, I think part of how we were made is so we could be creative together. Even if you don't have the same faith or theology as I do, you have to admit, something magical happens when creative people get together to make something.

1 comment:

  1. Ahhh, I love this post! I mean, I'm a blogger so the idea of creativity & community are pretty integral. Obviously it can go in a lot of directions, so this is beautiful.

    Our church is very big on community, and I'm slowly getting "plugged in," to use Christianese. I recently went to a wreath-making event for our women's group and it was actually really fun- I made my first burlap wreath, thankfully with the help of several people!


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