Belonging to a Community of Makers: Shared Ownership over God's Creative Mission
An invitation to know that as creatives we are not alone. We are part of a collective that has spanned thousands of years—and it is good. Amen.
Our faith is one composed both of traditions and constant renewal. We are rooted in a story tracing back centuries paired with an unchanging God, and yet we encounter new truths daily, adding notes to margins, even reflecting on the past in a way we never have before.
This is the beautiful push-and-pull of what it means to be Christian and what it means to be a creator for God. Our present does not make sense without our past, but we continue to move from it: aiming to see old tales in new lights and translating them in a way the next generation will understand. Yet a return to before is necessary for change to occur, and this return is one that is more mental than physical. It is a space held inside us for honoring and remembering that the creating in our DNA flows from God, but also the line of creatives we come from.
In America’s individualist culture, we often find ourselves tempted to prove our uniqueness or set-apartness. A second temptation we meet is to feel overwhelmed by the pressure to create—to steward our talents well, lead the way, and prophesy. Artists are warriors on the forefront, bandaging wounds, and proclaiming truth. We are translators and leaders, gifted with more than gifts. We are given the responsibility to let our art point people to Jesus—an honor that by our human brokenness can be twisted into a source of pride or pressure.
We can fight these temptations with remembrance. To remember our participation in a larger song of worship that was sung over us—before we hummed a tune—is to recognize a reality where we are characters in a story before we are authors; we have been purposefully placed; we are not alone.
As simple as it is, we must remind ourselves that we are not the first to do this and we will not be the last. Perhaps we will write one good story, perhaps we will lead one person to faith, perhaps we will never see the fruit of our efforts—and yet, our efforts still glorify God.
To pursue a habit of remembrance, we can begin our days by acknowledging the foundation we are building off of, the history to creating, the songs of lament and adoration and confession that have been lifted up by our ancestors to our steadfast God. We can protect songs and prayers that have existed for ages, drawing on the power they continue to have, connecting us to those we didn’t know. And we can thank God that, as Eugene Peterson wrote, “We wake into a world we didn’t make, into a salvation we didn’t earn.”
Words: Alana Freitas
Images (in order): Christopher Burns, Jehyun Sung, Bryce Evans