We may be re-energized by a brisk walk or a exhilarated by a bike ride, but we also require the quiet introspection that comes from solitude, reflection or prayer, from placing ourselves before the world like an open lens and allowing ourselves to be imprinted by it all, like photographic plates or film, by what the world is showing us.
I stand at the edge of the world
Sea and sand swirling ‘round my feet
Anchored by the weight of the pulling and swelling
Facing outward, toward a monochrome horizon
Ocean and sky barely distinguishable one from the other
A landscape that could have been sketched by a No. 2 pencil.
So much of prayer, like so much of the creative process, is in fact about waiting. But it is not a passive waiting as much as it is a time of expectation that something will happen, a hidden promise that revelation or inspiration will come if we leave ourselves open to that secret and mystical movement of God in our lives.
Asking “what if” is one of the most creative and contemplative questions we can ask ourselves. How many books, poems, paintings, songs, plays or other creative works have come to life because the artist dared to ask, “what if?”
A Light in Darkness
A Christmas Villanelle
A light in darkness fights off the cold
thrust into the world yet of its own making.
The new life is fragile but the message is bold.
A gentle king, as the prophets foretold,
stirs in the straw and yawns in his waking.
A light in darkness fights off the cold.
A star from the [...]
The announcement, the call to her in the midst of sleep,
is the very beginning of the story,
the pinhole of opportunity,
the invitation to grace
the way opening to way.
The journey begins, not at Nazareth as Joseph and Mary prepare for their trip to the City of David, but at a time much earlier.
For I am covered in grace, not sin. Enveloped in hope, not in my past. Secure in that gaze. Wrapped in that holy. Held in that love. Sanctus. Sanctus. Sanctus.
“The Church must be a poetic community,” theologian Walter Brueggemann once wrote, meaning — in my mind anyway — that if we are going to reach the people around us with the Gospel, we’re going to have to move beyond the standard rhetoric and capture their imaginations through our creativity, poetry, music, and art.
The creative arts, at least for many of us who profess a Creator God, are acts of faith. When we dare to create, when we “step out the boat,” we move from safety and comfort into an area of uncertainty, for when we begin to create we don’t always know where we are going to end up.