I have a confession to make. I’m not a writer. Yes, I write a blog each week and I occasionally write for other online venues, but I’m not really a writer. In fact, I get kind of jealous of my friends who have that title in their Twitter or Facebook bios. I really don’t feel like I’m there. You see, I’ve never had any formal training outside of my high school writing classes. In fact, my wife always feels the need to point that out anytime she has to proof one of my papers. Evidently, I either love, commas, way too much, or not enough (see what I did there?). But regardless of my lack of qualifications or my experience or my title, there is one thing I sit down to do every week. I sit down at a blank computer screen and I write. And some days I really enjoy it. Some days it feels like a chore. But I feel like it is important for my soul that I keep doing it…why? Because it reminds me of Who I belong to.
We are told at the beginning of the Bible that at the beginning of all things that the first thing God ever did was create. And although the Genesis account is a pretty incredible piece of poetic interpretation of creation, I find myself more and more being drawn to John’s account. It goes like this, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. The Word was with God in the beginning. Everything came into being through the Word, and without the Word nothing came into being.” – John 1:1-3 The Word. Jesus himself. Through his being all life came to being. This is one of the reasons I believe that communication brought to life through art and creativity is so important. You see, Jesus as the word/logos brought life into the universe. He is a creating/creative God. And we are created in that image. So in bringing forth words/pictures/images/art into the world we are participating in something that reminds us that we are created by Him to become like Him. Paul reminds us of how important our actions are in terms of how we go about life [you could read art here too], “Whatever you do, whether in speech or action, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus and give thanks to God the Father through him.” – Colossians 3:17 In the name of Jesus. The same name/word that gave life to all that is.
So today I want to encourage you to…write, even if you are not a writer. I want to encourage you to sing, even if you’re not a singer. To paint, even if you aren’t a painter. To capture images, even if you’re not a photographer. To dance, even if you’re not a dancer. I urge you to sculpt, compose, draw, chisel, play, tinker, choreograph, program, edit, or find any other form of incredible creative expression to bring life and communication into the world that wasn’t there before…even if you don’t feel like you are qualified. Because the Voice that spoke everything into existence created you and you are created in the Creative God’s image.
So at this point in the dialogue with my blog I think it is safe to confess that I am a child of the late 80’s/early 90’s. At least this is the small window of time that I seem to remember before my adolescence. Growing up during this time, it didn’t matter what your skin pigmentation was, you all of a sudden felt the need to express yourself in certain hip-hop anachronisms. For instance, every person who in any way, shape or form remembers 1991 will immediately recall the song associated with the phrase “word to your mother”. (For those of you who just got lost, this is a reference to Vanilla Ice’s mega hit Ice, Ice Baby of which I still know every word). Now I have not always considered myself streetwise and so on the rare occasion the meanings of such enigmatic phrases sometimes escape me. For instance, I just thought the phrase above meant to give respect to another person’s maternal figure when in fact it was in reference to the Motherland of Africa. But all the same, it didn’t prevent me from going around in my Reebok Pumps and Nike wind suit and declaring “Word” as a warm greeting to everyone I saw.
This past weekend I gathered with over one hundred and twenty-five students for a weekend of worship, service, fun and more with Disciple Now 14 and we saw God move in amazing ways. The theme of the weekend was reflective of this child of the 80’s and 90’s as we called the weekend WORD. In fact, we pulled the theme from the first chapter of the book of John. “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” – John 1:14. The whole idea being that we are called to reflect the incarnational act of Christ to the world and community around us. But even after the weekend I have been thinking, what does that truly look like?
Now a certain number of our students from the weekend went and served at a nursing home Saturday afternoon. There many of them, for the first time, encountered a lot of older people who physically were incapable of living full and independent lives. But what they truly saw were the lives that these people were capable of living when others fully awarded them their humanity. They were amazed at the response of the patients and how even in their disabled states that they had joy, wisdom and life to share with those around them. And maybe that is what the incarnational WORD act is.
Earlier I joked about “respect to the maternal figure” but maybe that is not too far off base. Jesus, who was fully Divine and enjoyed full fellowship with God and all the power that went with it, left all of that behind to encounter us on our level. Not only that, but he never looked at our condition as less than. In fact, he entered into the lives of the poor, the oppressed, the outcast, the aged, the unloved and the disabled and let them know that they were not only loved, but that they were fully human. If we are called to be Christ to the world around us, then maybe this is the calling placed upon us. And maybe this is what it means to be the WORD that a world desperately needs. A WORD that says you are loved, you matter and God has an amazing life in store for you. WORD.