It is absolutely beautiful, the hours of meticulous craftsmanship abundantly apparent. It is both elegant and simple, traditional and timeless. It represents hours of hard work, yet also years of prayerful, discerning conversation.
On the beautiful morning that was this last Sunday, I was blessed to be part of the blessing and dedication of their new freestanding altar. As you might imagine an incredible piece of furniture like an altar takes months to build. However, as is often the case in the Church, it took years to discern all that would go into such a central part of a faith community – 17 years actually!
The creative process never ceases to amaze me. Sometimes it stirs in an individual. In others sometimes the creativity takes shape more within the context of community. Either way, in the end creativity at its core is collaborative. It involves artists and those who will admire the work, a strategic planning team and those who inevitably will benefit from their collective work.
It is, I would suggest, the way we were created. Our Creator God created us to be co-creators both with the Creator and with each other. The gifts we were given were never meant for us alone but for us to offer in the creative process.
Sometimes our gifts are the use of our hands — as was the case with the artist who built the altar for St. Clement’s. At other times our gifts are the use of our imagination, critical thinking and even a sense of humor collaborating with others to create. And often it is some combination of both.
Whether we are about the creation of an altar, Mission Areas or however God is inviting us to engage in mission, it is always an invitation to use our gifts to co-create with our Creator and with each other.