Take a slow walk through the produce section at Central Market; go at an “off” time when few people are there. Take some time to inspect the produce. Don’t just look at it. Stand back. Observe the whole picture, then zoom in on the parts as well as the whole. You will find every color of fruit and vegetable here. The full spectrum stands ready for your plate and palate, and it all grows naturally. In fact, color is merely the first aspect of the beauty found there. Take some time to discover the shapes and sizes. And, of course, if they have samples, TASTE! Taste everything! Sour, sweet, spicy, savory; all melt in your mouth and produce physical, physiological even emotional responses.
In the beginning, God created. Out of a murky nothingness, God imagined and spoke into existence each shape, color, taste, smell and texture. Blues, greens, and yellows, none of them existed. Only darkness. In our feebleness, we have categorized and named them. We have designated circles and squares, rectangles and triangles. When shapes did not fit into our neat packages we called them polygons, so long as they had straight lines.
But our endless categories, our need to sequence, our yearning to organize, in order to understand, continue to be overwhelmed by the crazy creativity of God.
On a recent trip to Tennessee, I caved-in to a schmaltzy tourist attraction called Rock City. It sits atop Lookout Mountain Chattanooga, Tennessee. We marveled at the beauty of the view. Maybe it was cheesy, but it was beautiful. But a second, lesser known natural wonder known as Ruby Falls can also be explored there.
My family stepped onto an elevator and watched through a glass door as we descended into the rock of the mountain. From the elevator, we walked for thirty or forty minutes and took in the amazing sights of the cave. I touched the stalagmites standing like melted candle wax yet feeling like stone. I breathed deeply the musty air. I knocked on hollow rocks and gratefully squeezed through some pretty tight places.
But then, when we were 1100 feet under the mountain, we encountered the 145 foot high, underground waterfall. My mouth dropped open, and I began to cry. Overwhelmed, David’s words immediately came to my mind. “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, who am I, that you are mindful of me.” (Psalm 8 – with a modification).
The Creator of the Universe, the stars, and the sun, that same Creator took the time to create each color I see, each shape, each texture. This God took the time to create a hidden gift to be found hundreds of thousands of years later. This same God who fashioned and hid this marvelous surprise deep in the earth where there is no life, also took the time to create me and know me.
And not only are we created in the image of God, we are continually RE-created. God continually presses in and calls to us, desiring to refashion us into an even more beautiful reflection of Christ.
All the while, the creating God bestows on us the ability to create and RE-create the world around us, for we were made in the image of God.
Sadly, few people call themselves creative. Even people who create great works will proclaim they are not creative. You can hear them say, “I am not creative, I just knit,” or some other task that seems small to them while impossible to others. If you listen, you hear things like: “I’m just not creative. I don’t have time for all of that stuff.” Or perhaps you hear people say, “I am too left-brained for that.”
As one of our core values, we seek creativity. We do not wish to be creative for the sake of art or beauty, but rather we seek to bring attention, honor and praise to God through our creativity. We do not look to creativity to inform us about Christ, rather we desire God to use our creativity as a way of drawing people into relationship with Christ.
We believe creativity is learned, developed and exercised. It should be thought of as a way of life rather than something we were either born with or without.
We aspire to be a work of art, a mosaic, in which each person brings a gift; luscious gardens, thrilling works of fiction, mesmerizing movies, graceful and poetic dance, music that moves us. But in addition to the artistic, we also seek to bring honor to God through our creative gifts of the everyday; scrumptious meals, hospitality, problem solving, organizing and planning.
Creativity is simultaneously spacious and sweeping while also being modest and humble. But it is never boring. It is never mundane.
We recognize God’s creativity in the simple beauty of the produce department to the magnificent wonders of nature. We also seek to be guardians AND couriers of this creativity in all arenas of the world around us. This is our ideal, our goal. We desire to create and re-create, to author, compose, plant, invent, design, choreograph, build, fashion, legislate and formulate as an act of worship, as an act of honor, as an emulation of God so that the world around us will know Jesus and be amazed.