Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Creation's Eighth Day...

I have often wondered how anyone could think that creation was
a one-time activity...that the creative Creator God brought it to
a halt on the sixth day, according to the Genesis stories in the
Hebrew bible. I find that amazingly incongruous, since I see the
evidence of the on-going activity of creation around me all the
time.

This rose to the surface again and again for me a week ago, as-
in the space of eight days- I saw five films, visited three art
museums, saw the amazing "Van Gogh Alive" at Discovery Place
in Charlotte, and was enraptured by the Appalachian musical,
"Brother Wolf" at the Hanesbrand Theater in Winston-Salem. No,
I feel compelled to inform you, this was not a usual week for me,
but my dear friend, Mae, was visiting from Florida and when she
comes, I try my best to fill our time- between conversations
and meals- with activities we both enjoy...activities which are
celebrations of the creative energy which abounds in this area
and which confirms for me, over and over again, the reality that
Creation is an on-going activity in which we humans are invited
to participate by our Creator.

It was while I was in seminary that I first encountered the
phrase, "created co-creator" to describe the human being. I fell
in love with the expression then and it became fully a part of me
as I wrote sermons and wrote poetry and, years later, wrote
several books. And the phrase sprang fully to life last week as
we were uplifted...amazed...awed...confounded...rendered
both speechless and breathless by the beauty of the art and
music which spun its incredible web of mystery and wonder
around us.

First, the films. We began with "Sweet Dreams", a documentary
about a group of Rwandan women who formed a drumming
group as a way of healing and reconciliation from the genocide...
continued with "Belle", the story of a young mulatto woman in
18th century England...moved on to "Fading Gigolo" by the
wonderful John Turturo...then "Railway Man" about a British
soldier in WWII who had been held captive by the Japanese in
Burma...and concluded with "Chef", a delightful culinary tour-
de-force of food and family and relationships. We were amazed
by how often the theme of forgiveness was presented in many
and varied ways...each film so very different from the one before,
each one a delight to the eyes and ears and heart in one way
or another. Some evoked tears...some shouts of laughter...but
each one was truly a celebration of the combined creative efforts
of a whole plethora of people...Creation happening before our
very eyes.

Then there were the galleries: SECCA, where the work of two
very different artists were paired as part of the theme, "The
Tragicomic"...then, the Reynolda House where we reveled in
the exhibition "Written with Water: American Watercolors from
Homer to Close" (both of these galleries are in Winston-Salem)...
and finally, the Weatherspoon Gallery in Greensboro, where
we viewed an amazing exhibit entitled "Inequality and Social
Justice in a Changing World", as well as an exhibition of senior
work of students in the UNCG MFA program. The creativity of the
artists fairly leapt from the walls and I know I will return to see
some of this work again, especially at the Weatherspoon.

And then there was "Van Gogh Alive", the most amazing
presentation of art I have ever seen. No, not seen...experienced,
for it was truly an experience, surrounding the viewer with large
screens and changing images and music and...words of
explanation elude me and I can only say- GO & SEE IT FOR
YOURSELF. Having been privileged to visit the Van Gogh museum
in Amsterdam, I can truly say that this exhibition brought his art
alive in a way that must be seen to be appreciated. What an
incredibly creative adventure! Creation alive and well and on-going
among us.

To add to the thrill of the trip to Charlotte, we visited Spirit Square,
where an exhibition of the work of students from Northwest High
School in Charlotte hung in one of the galleries. The amazing
student work included several pieces done by my 17-year-old
granddaughter, Felicia, whose work makes me awe-struck,
especially since my ability in the artistic realm consists of stick-
figures. I was astounded by the work of these young people, and
rejoiced in the sunburst of creativity which illuminated all of their
work.
One of Felicia's creations

Last- but certainly not least- was "Brother Wolf", the truly
remarkable co-creation of playwright, Preston Lane and composer,
Laurelyn Dossett, filled with imaginative Appalachian story-telling
and haunting music and wonderful acting. I could only sit in awe
as I watched the creative energy being spread out before me...
as I was drawn into and entranced by the unfolding of a tale of
love and vengeance and, yes, forgiveness.

For me, the impulse to create is part of the human spirit, the part
of us which has been created to be a co-creator by a God who
continues to surprise and amaze...to lead us in unexpected and
glorious and scary directions...to dare us to venture into the
unknown in order to give expression to the holy creativity that lies
deep inside of us. Perhaps God rested on the seventh day, but that
same God has been active and working and inspiring us ever since.
Thanks be to God!

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