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Made in the Image of a Creative Creator

Enuma Okoro

devozine creative art TS 108554707When I was a kid, my sister and I had drawing competitions. We loved drawing, whether or not we were good at it. Drawing pictures, writing songs or poetry, making up plays and acting them out seemed to come naturally to us. We felt that’s what we were created to do. As we got older, we heard society’s message: Unless you are an expert at being creative—a writer, a painter, or a singer— then creating is not for you. Fortunately, the message didn’t stick. Neither my sister nor I could shake the belief that God had made us to be creative. We both believed that part of being human meant being an artist, professional or not. My sister still writes plays, and I write poetry. Once in a while, I paint with watercolors, for the pure joy it brings.

My sister and I grew up with a Christian faith that taught us that all people are made in the image of God. In our minds, God had to be an artist because God had created the world with all its beauty and diversity. God, like a potter or sculptor, made human beings out of mud. Sometimes, we need to rediscover the idea that being creative and making all types of art is a way of recognizing that God delights in song, words, color, and beauty. The Bible is full of faithful believers who praised God through their artistic gifts and talents. In Exodus 25–28, artists, craftsmen, and tailors unite to build a beautiful temple designed by God, who also chose its colors and textures. Did you know that the Psalms are songs? Even when expressing difficult or painful emotions, people reached out to God through the arts.

devozine Guitar Guy FTR TSP 144719000Our world may be broken and awaiting the full redemption of Christ’s return, but we are called to embrace creative and artistic beauty to help heal the hurts of this world. Many hospitals and care facilities have created programs in which the arts are used to help patients recover emotionally, mentally, and physically. How appropriate since the symbol for a hospital (a snake wrapped around a pole) comes from a work of art God designed for the purpose of healing people (see Numbers 21:8–9).

The arts are a necessary channel for communing with God. They invite us to encounter, through story, sound, movement, and image, the world God created. The arts help us name and attend to the vast range of what it means to be human in joy and in pain. The arts remind us that we are made in the image of a creator, and they invite us to join God in the faithful act of creating.

 

DIG DEEPER

One benefit of the Internet is having access to artwork and music. Search the Internet for these two works of art:

Reflect on these two works of art. What do they express? What story do they tell you? How could they give you a better understanding of God and the world?

Next, search on the Internet for the lyrics to the popular hymn “Amazing Grace.” After you have read the lyrics, research the story behind the song to discover why it was written. You might be surprised.

If you could spend the afternoon creating something, what would it be?

 

Enuma Okoro is a writer, speaker, and communications consultant. www.enumaokoro.com

—from devozine (May/June 2014). Copyright © 2014 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

 

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