7in7 is upon us again. This upcoming May 21-27th we will spend seven days creating, cultivating, and blessing others through our creativity. My prayer for 7in7 this year is that we as a church would embrace creativity as a deep and integral part of what it means to be human, an image bearer, and a follower of Jesus. When God created man, his command was for them to fill, subdue, and multiply the earth. Their role was to cultivate God’s good creation- to make something of the world and fill it full of people who would do the same. He tasked them with creating culture- a way of being in the world and a way of making meaning of the world through everything they did, rooted in His gracious provision of all the tools necessary to do so.
Andy Crouch says, “What is missing, I've come to believe, are the two postures that are most characteristically biblical -- the two postures that have been least explored by Christians in the last century. They are found at the very beginning of the human story, according to Genesis: like our first parents, we are to be creators and cultivators. Or to put it more poetically, we are artists and gardeners. ... after the contemplation, the artist and the gardener both adopt a posture of purposeful work. They bring their creativity and effort to their calling. ... They are acting in the image of One who spoke a world into being and stooped down to form creatures from the dust. They are creaturely creators, tending and shaping the world that original Creator made.”
If the idea of being creative seems foreign, would you consider taking the posture of a learner and being open to hearing from God through the creativity of others? Would you also consider being surprised as you learn how to think and act creatively in whatever areas God has gifted you? If you love the idea of being a creative, would you do the same?
Creativity isn’t limited to the creation story. In the gospels, we see Jesus engage in creative storytelling. This shouldn’t surprise us. The Bible says in Colossians 1:16,”For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.”
Every captivating sunset
The stars in the sky
Every mountaintop & valley
Daisies & sequoia trees
a rushing stream
melody & harmony
& for Him.
Jesus didn’t just give his followers a list of facts about himself, but instead, he used stories to paint a picture of what the kingdom of God was like. In fact, in the book of Matthew, Jesus says eleven different times,"The Kingdom of heaven is like…” So eleven different times in Matthew, Jesus gives stories and word pictures to help his followers, and those who were curious, a chance to imagine the kingdom. Some wouldn't understand what he was saying and some would. Some would hate this type of Kingdom and others would be captivated by its beauty. To all it would be an invitation to imagine a world where God was King; a kingdom that could not be earned but must be received.
I think Jesus wants to give us new ways of seeing, understanding, and learning to receive His kingdom.
SO WHERE DO WE START?
God has given each of us time and unique talents to cultivate as worship offered unto Him and a way to bless others. Each day of 7in7 you will be challenged to step into the hard work of creating something in whatever way you are gifted.
- If you are a songwriter, what would it look like to create seven songs in seven days?
- If you are a baker or enjoy cooking, what might it look like to craft seven dishes in seven days?
- If you love woodworking what would it look like to work on seven small projects in seven days or one project each day for seven days and see it completed?
(Other ideas might include: painting, sculpting, poetry, writing confessions for Redeemer liturgy, serving neighbors, photography, landscaping, short stories, sewing, drawing, graphic design, coloring)
The goal is not the quality of the work (although how beautiful it is when something incredible is created), but to grow in stewarding our talents and stepping out in faith to create courageously. As a church family, we will celebrate the courage and vulnerability to put our gifts on display, whatever that may look like. This will also push all of us to grow in the discipline of trying new things and finishing what we start. The goal is not to produce goods or be efficient and make a ton of stuff, but instead, to carefully consider how the things we create help make sense of the world- how they help us find meaning and understanding as we seek to learn and live the way of Jesus.
Would you prayerfully consider how God might want to speak to you & to others through #7in7 this year?