The LORD said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”
But Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”
And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.”
Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”
God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.'”
And He was saying, “The kingdom of God is like a man who casts seed upon the soil; and he goes to bed at night and gets up by day, and the seed sprouts and grows–how, he himself does not know. The soil produces crops by itself; first the blade, then the head, then the mature grain in the head. “But when the crop permits, he immediately puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”
And He said, “How shall we picture the kingdom of God, or by what parable shall we present it?
It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the soil, though it is smaller than all the seeds that are upon the soil, yet when it is sown, it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and forms large branches; so that THE BIRDS OF THE AIR can NEST UNDER ITS SHADE.”
“The artist finds his or her fulfillment in being a special agent of celebration and justice making, of healing and awe naming. Arts are the least expensive, the most fun, and the deepest form of healing that human kind has at its disposal.”
Creation Spirituality Matthew Fox
We have become a society and a people of reflection. Instead of reflecting on our own actions, we have been trained to see ourselves through the eyes of others. We trust others to validate if we are OK, if our beliefs, and experiences are normal, natural, and excepted. Our parents, schools, teachers, and churches too often tell us what we should live like, and how we should perceive life. This cycle of living through the constructed norms of others must come to an end; we must embark on a new journey to find the creative spirit of life that is in each of us. Now with the summer of 2009 upon us we must turn over a new leaf and talk back to the critical inner voice. Reassure yourself that the spirit of God, and the Kingdom of God is within, always urging you to paint your life with dreams and the many colors of the rainbow.
We are proud here at Congregational Church of Lincoln City that we have formally become an open and affirming community that celebrates, not simply tolerates, the different sexual orientations, races, ethnicities and belief systems of others. The symbol for Gay Pride is the rainbow; it is not a coincidence that the rainbow is also used in the bible to symbolize Gods love for all of creation. We must all work to adopt this symbol and mindset of love and inclusion in our daily lives. It is time to heal the wounded boy and girl within us that has been brainwashed to see life in a static colorless way. It is time to replace this way of being with the colors of the rainbow, with the dreams of our childhood, and it is time to embrace the fact that “I am what I will be”.
This statement “I am what I will be” comes from our scripture reading Exodus 3. Moses asks God : Who shall I say told me to bring your chosen people out of slavery and into liberation? God responds, “I am what I will be.” Like all of God’s proclamations this statement is to be taken as a metaphor. We must all except and embrace our inner being, and our creative spirit. Like Moses who was sent to the Israelites to free them from the oppressive rule of the Pharoahs, we must also liberate our minds, souls, and creative spirits. Moving ourselves from this state of spiritual slavery, of insecurity and uncertainty, paralysis, fear and depression, to a state of creative flow.
Now the season of Pentecost is upon us. Thousands of years ago God’s disciples embraces the Holy Spirit and went out to create the church, spreading the love of God amongst the people of Jerusalem. The season of Pentecost celebrates God as an artist, using a brush to paint his disciples with love and empowering them to create the church. Love of course is the most creative of all activities. We are now ready according to our liturgical calendar in the season of Pentecost to begin our journey as a church to create, and to become, the artists that is naturally within us. In the name of Jesus Christ we must grow to understand one another and ourselves. With summer here the memories of our childhood are brought to attention. Summer vacations have always highlighted a time for creativity, jubilance, and freedom. With age these feelings and expressions of our childhood fade, and often disappear. I call on you now to embrace the coming summer, come out of spiritual hiding, to express the Christ child within us, accept yourself and let yourself become accepted by your church, community, and all of creation.
Our journey to spiritual and personal freedom can start here every Sunday. May we begin to consider our one-hour of worship together on Sunday as more than preaching and music. It is a sacred time to gather as one and tread softly on one another’s dreams, to do the creative work of “ I am what I will be,” to try to understand and be understood by our friends, family, and the kingdom of God within. The spiritual awakening that starts here in church must also translate to the way we live our lives. Take your creative being and use it in all of your relationships, in all of your work, and in the creation of a newly spiritual self. God dreams for us, dreams that go beyond our religious or spiritual imagination. If we are captured in a place of slavery or bondage God dreams for us to be free, in the land of milk and honey, in a place where we live in harmony as an entire global community of peace and justice, love and beauty. The story of the young girl who is trained and brainwashed not to paint flowers with the colors of the rainbow can be seen as the way we to often live our lives, sheltered, in fear, and much of the time, alone. The teachers, parents, and tyrannical systems that controls society can wash out our dreams, leaving us drained of our creative and spiritual gifts from God. We must rebel, free your mind, body, and soul from the constraints of tyranny, and allow yourself to be the free spirit that God has urged you to be. Within the book The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity author Julia Cameron encourages us to protect the artist child within, she urges to,” remember your artist is a child. Find and protect that child. Learning to let you create is like learning to walk. ………. We want to be great—immediately great—but that is not how recovery works. It is an awkward, tentative even embarrassing process. There will be many times when we won’t look good—to ourselves or anyone else. We need to stop demanding that we do. It’s impossible to get better and look good at the same time. Remember that in order to recover as an artist. You must be willing to be a bad artist. “ (p.30-31)
To find the inner- artist, and the inner child we must be willing to stumble, to fail, and to always try again. It is our duty as God’s sacred children to take risks and encourage those around us to take risks. The static nature of our lives often keeps us from embarking on new spiritual journeys. We become fearful of the unknown and tend to stay in our daily routine. This is not the way to express ourselves, not the way to live our lives. I call on you to shatter the static mold of existence, your way of being. Embrace the multitude of colors, sounds, and spirits that surround you. Do not be afraid to burst out in song, lead a group meeting, or embrace your friends and family with love. Julia Cameron offers a list of twenty “creative aspirations” for us all to learn from.
- I am a channel for god’s creativity and my work comes to good.
- My dreams come from god and God has the power to accomplish them.
- As I create and listen I will be led.
- Creativity is the creators will for me.
- My creativity heals myself and others
- I am allowed to nurture my artist
- Through the use of a few simple tools (all about willing to be bad and slay the inner Pharaoh of perfectionism) my creativity will flourish
- Through the use of my creativity I serve god
- My creativity leans me to the truth and love
- My creativity leads me to forgiveness and self-forgiveness.
- There is a divine plan of goodness for me
- There is a divine plan of goodness for my work
- As I listen to the creator within I am led
- As I listen to my creativity I am led to my creator.
- I am willing to create.
- I am willing to learn to let myself create.
- I am willing to let God create through me.
- I am willing to be of service through my creativity.
- I am willing to experience my creative energy.
- I am willing to use my creative talents. (p.36,37)
Jesus also encouraged us to see the greatness within. He spoke of life and the kingdom of God as a small mustard seed. Much like the small seed we all have the potential to cultivate an abundance of beauty, color, and love. Too often we are taught that creative works of art are only meant for those few with a natural gift, and we are shunned away as the simple, plain, and ordinary. But God tells us that we all have this gift; we all have the creativity to be the vibrant yellow flower that paints a hillside or valley. Now it is time to nurture our spirits and souls and make the kingdom of God flourish with our imagination and love.
The short story “The Big Orange Splott” by Daniel Pinkwater can provide us with guidance. The main character Mr. Plumbean teaches others through his own personal expression, though many are critical of him. Mr. Plumbean is a good minister and has created the kind of community we all long for. He has created a safe harbor where expression and creativity is not simply accepted by others, it is encouraged. May our time together in church and in community be like the time Mr. Plumbean spent with his neighbors, a sacred time to explore dreams and help discern what God has called on us to create.
What are your dreams? Your visions? What have you always wanted to do for the world? These dreams are sacred, we are each sacred, and we must treat each other as sacred. How shall we recover from our suffering, fear, jealousy, our rage of being misunderstood and dishonored, of feeling unsatisfied with our creative life? I call on you to create your way out, to love your way out.
Encourage each other, and become inspired by one another. No one recovers and heals their wounded creative selves alone. We need God, teachers, ministers, friends, and support groups to love us, to believe in us when we do not believe in ourselves, to encourage us when we are discouraged, celebrate with us when we become enlightened, to promise to let us try new things, to watch us fail and succeed. May our religious and spiritual work together here at CCLCUCC be about the holy enterprise of creativity. May we be an open and affirming Church of creative and artistic spirit, a Church of Creative Recovery, a Church of Creative Celebration, a Church of the Big Orange Splott and the Yellow Mustard seed. A place of worship where the God of “I am what I will be” is encouraged and loved into health and wholeness“Our church is us and we are it. Our church is where we like to be, and it looks like all our dreams.” (The Big Orange Splot)
Let the little children come to me, and stop keeping them away, because the kingdom of heaven belongs to people like these.