We continue our Via Transformativa theme of “You Crack Me Up!” During this quarter, we’ll be exploring how the Holy “cracks” us open to reveal the true divine, spirit that dwells within each of us.
This Sunday, May 13, 2018, Jubilant Todd Hoppock talked about how God uses our creativity to crack open our ego and allow the Creator within us to emerge.
From the Hebrew Scriptures: Genesis 1:1-31: In the beginning
From the Jesus story: John 1:1-5: Before time itself was measured, the Voice was speaking
From A Course in Miracles, Chapter 7: Wrong perception is the wish that things be as they are not.
Like an artist, God loves creation — not the static loving of Creation the noun, Creation as the object created — but as loving the very act of creating, of changing, of shaping. This is not God the noun, but God the Verb, God the Becoming, the Unfolding, the ever-Creating.
God likes change more than stability. So we know there is no contradiction between creation by God and creation through evolution. As the writer Annie Dillard has said, “Not only did the creator create everything, but he is apt to create anything. He’ll stop at nothing. There is no one standing over evolution to say: ‘Now, that one, there, is absolutely ridiculous, and I won’t have it,'” even if we’re looking at a duck-billed platypus. And as Teilhard de Chardin said, “Properly speaking, God does not make: He makes things make themselves.”
We are one of the things that make themselves. We participate with God in creation every day. By creating our own lives, we create with God — in fact, we are God creating. God is in our lives, in the stories we tell, and the art we make, and the love we express. We form our lives just as the artist paints the canvas, or the sculptor or the potter molds the clay, or the author writes the novel. We create our lives every day in big ways and small, in how we approach life and speak and listen, in how we bless or curse or sing or lament. This is our story, our novel, our masterpiece, our drama, our sitcom.
Perhaps it sounds like a refrigerator magnet or an internet meme to say that we create our own lives and our own reality. Sure, you think, that’s easy to say, but so far I haven’t managed to create that life on a beach in Fiji drinking mimosas — I’m just hoping to pay the light bill and put gas in the car. But every artist must work within limitations. This isn’t “prosperity gospel” — this is about what we do with what we have. If we write, we try to express ourselves within the constraints of words. For a potter, the excitement is pushing the envelope of what is possible on the potter’s wheel, making a vessel that is bigger or thinner or taller, or more beautiful than the last. The painter is limited to their canvas and the colors of their palette. The challenge is to create within the limitations that life gives us.
And we have a choice in this, about what sort of life-artist we want to be. We can fight against it — fight against our God-self inside us that wants to create our masterpiece. “Only you can limit your creative power, but God wills to release it,” we read in A Course in Miracles. “[God] no more wills you to deprive yourself of your creations than He wills to deprive Himself of His.” Perhaps the only sin is refusing to participate in creation, refusing to see the opportunities and the possibilities, refusing to find our own expression and our own beauty, refusing to push against the envelope and against the limitations to create our masterpiece. Sin is when we don’t participate in the act of creating our lives, when we roll over and abdicate responsibly, when we decide life is what happens to us, not through us, when it’s somebody else’s fault and somebody else’s responsibility.
In fact, we must realize we have complete freedom to create within the limitations we are given. How good we are at creating, and what we create, is up to us. Master artists are not born, they attain mastery only by hard work and long hours. There is a popular idea, whether true or not, that 10,000 hours of practice can turn you into an expert. The good news is that we have lived more than 10,000 hours before we are 14 months old — so we should all be experts at living. But, of course, if we want to live lives of peace and love and beauty and truth, that takes practice. If we want to be artistic masters creating a masterpiece of beauty from our lives, we can, with discipline. And, yes, we get to break the rules, color outside of the lines, piece things together like Picasso, if we want.
Jubilants, when we create, we participate in God. Art-fullness is next to God-fullness. When we create, we are God. And when we look at our own lives, we may see that it is not perfect, but it is very, very good. And we will say, “Oh, yeah.”