My eyes peel open as the young light of a new day bursts through the window. Outside, the willows caress the river, resting delicately on its surface, spreading small ripples that bounce off our houseboat and return to the place they started. Across the glassy face of the water, a pair of ducks cruise. This world, overshadowed the evening before by towering cliffs, is now illuminated by them, the golden limestone drinking in the sun and radiating back, its surfaces a flaming coat of many colours.
Life here is raw and organic. It flows slow and runs deep. It’s a place I love to be—to swim every day, to wonder at the birds and beasts as they traverse their highways and homes, to watch the landscape change as your boat moves up and down, to tie up where your motor takes you.
Creativity is worship. We should pursue excellence in creativity and new ways to portray God’s message of redemption.
There is a freedom in following the river—resting and rocking on its soft, supple bed. In this place I catch a glimpse of what God thought when He saw that the world was good.
Nature can inspire, refresh and revitalise. It’s like a Sabbath space, away from the hustle and bustle, disconnected from technology and connected to the Creator. I also feel God in the relentless march of the waves on the beach, in their power and shape; I hear Him in the lush, whistling rainforest; I see Him as I snorkel the reef and chase the rainbow-coloured fish through their underwater forests. God has imbued creation with Himself and it leaves me in awe of His creative genius.
Let’s try something now. I want you to create a new creature. Think through some of its characteristics. What do you want it to do? What does it look like? It’s hard right? The ancients covered their tombs and temples with composite beasts, weird and wonderful but completely impractical. It’s so hard to come up with something that isn’t derivative.
OK, let’s start from scratch—a void. I might be able to design a few types of plants (trees, fruit and bushes), some creatures, maybe water, air and dirt, but after that I’m running out of ideas. God created information and codes for the replication of millions of kinds—plants, animals and elements, unique, graceful and with a purpose.
God is creative. In fact it is one of His names. Creation from nothing is a power only God has. Only He can bring light from darkness, life from death, peace from chaos. Beauty (even in mediums we disagree with) comes from God and can be His way of speaking to the world.
As His children, we are gifted with creativity. It’s something that separates us from the animals. The enemy can only imitate and corrupt, counterfeit and replicate.
Yet we as Christians are often playing catch up with the rest of the world. Our subculture doesn’t encourage failure, individuality or pushing the boundaries—important ingredients in the creative process. We feel safe in ritual and familiarity. We don’t often try to express ourselves and what God means to us in new and creative ways. When we do try to be cool and relevant, we usually just imitate the imitators.
Creativity is worship. We should pursue excellence in creativity and new ways to portray God’s message of redemption—in our Sabbath spaces, churches and communities. God’s message never changes but our methods are fair game.
Jarrod Stackelroth is associate editor of RECORD.