Creativity and Worship
songwriter, Michael Card. If you are a little short on time today, skip to the last
two paragraphs; but if you are a Christian artist of any kind, please read
the whole thing and then get a copy of this wonderful little book.
CREATIVITY AND WORSHIP
Creativity is not about me. It is not about you. It is not us somehow acting
like little gods, creating on our own in the same way God creates. Although he
asks us to imitate him, we are not imitators of God in this dimension. The
most we can hope for is to respond appropriately and creatively to who God is
and what he means. Creativity is a response . . . .
That is what true worship isóa response. That is what Bill Lane [his mentor]
told me all those years ago. "True worship is a response to hearing Godís
Word," he said with an intensity I will never forget.
Itís like romanceóno, it is romance. When I first saw Susan, my wife,
everything in me wanted to respond to her at every level: emotional, spiritual,
relational, yes, especially physical. I saw. I responded. That is worship.
Creativity is worship insofar as it is, at its essence, a response. I hear
the Word, and I respond with music, with silence, in adoration, in appreciation
by picking up the basin and the towel. It is a romantic response to this
Person whom I adore. He is beautiful! I want nothing more than to be in his
presence. I love him! And so I sing and I write . . . .
Because it is a response, it does not originate with me. He speaks. He moves.
He is beautiful. We respond. We create. We worship.
Perhaps we struggle to see the connection between worship and the call to be
creative precisely because they are so intimately linked. We have forgotten
that the call to creativity is a call to worship.
One of the most irritating accusations the voice I mentioned before [Thatís
the voice of self-doubt for the creating artist] can whisper is, "Do you think
youíre some kind of celebrity?"
By definition a celebrity is someone we celebrate. I looked it up. Just above
the listing for CELEBRITY I saw another word, CELEBRANT. A celebrant is
defined as someone who officiates at the Eucharist. A celebrant is focused on Jesus
and his sacrifice. Interesting contrast.
Today I choose to be a celebrant. By Godís enabling grace I will hold Jesus
up before the world and not hold myself up. I will seek to respond to his
extravagant love by any and all means possible. I will arrive to create art that
will communicate to the world, and most especially to him, how much I love and
long for his presence.
óMichael Card, SCRIBBLING IN THE SAND: CHRIST AND CREATIVITY, [Downers Grove,
Illinois: InterVarstiy Press, 2002], pp. 28-30. ISBN 0-8308-2317-4.
[I highly recommend this book for Christian worshippers and creative artists.
There is also a companion Video/DVD entitled SCRIBBLING IN THE SAND: THE BEST
OF MICHAEL CARDóLIVE: AN EVENING OF CREATIVITY AND COMMUNITY WITH MICHAEL
CARD AND FRIENDS. It is wonderful. It has seventeen songs performed in an informal concert setting, as well as spoken commentary on life, faith, creativity,
family, Christian community, and radical discipleship. You can find it at
www.michaelcard.com (click on "store" then "Video/DVD".]
Have a great week.
Director, Institute for Christian Worship
School of Church Music and Worship
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary