In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal. John 12:45 (MSG)
New Life – Creativity Series – Part 3
One of my favourite scenes from, ‘The Passion of the Christ,” is the where Jesus is carrying the cross, his flesh has been ripped to shreds, covered in blood, heaving under the weight he carries both physically and spiritually; he falls to the ground, and his mother Mary runs to him from the crowd and says “I’m here…” It’s a heartbreakingly beautiful scene. Then, Jesus grabbed his mother's arms, looked into her eyes and says, “See, Mother? I make all things new.”
Right there, I lose it.
It reminds me of something Jesus said before his death,
“Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal.” (John 12:24-25)
There is something about death that makes way for new life. Resurrection.
As a creative, I write most days. And it's the hardest, most joyous, thing I’ve ever done. For me to publish these devotions (more like conversations) which take you all of 5 minutes to read, cost me my heart and soul. I pour everything I have into them. Every day I put to death the fear of what you will think of them, I put to death the fear of not being good enough, the ease of staying in my comfort zone, my ego that wants to stay closed up and isolated; I’ve turned down jobs, quit jobs; risked my reputation, money, time and energy – all of it – for this little project, that is more like our life blood, called Pocketfuel. A death has had to take place within me so that new life can be created from me. If I hold onto life as it is – comfortable, stable, stationary – I lose the opportunity to turn it into all it could be.
Most people who create stuff will tell you that sometimes works of art come from deep pain, and can cost the world. And the cost makes the creation even more beautiful. (N.B.: We all create in our own ways: family, memories, hard work, reactions, responses and more… we create those.)
When I gave birth to my two children, the pain was unlike anything I have ever experienced. I felt like I was being torn in two. But the new life that was birthed from me? It's the most beautiful thing I have ever experienced. Miraculous.
So what does God make new? It’s easy to say, “our hearts, of course.” But how does that play out in our real everyday lives? Do you feel new? Does it happen in an instant? When you stuff up, or you hurt someone, and then you pray and repent, do you automatically feel renewed at that moment? Or is the newness that Jesus spoke of something that is still happening as we live day by day, rather than something that happens in a single moment?
Sometimes I wish God was more like a magician, pulling rabbits out of his hat. Making something from nothing. Not there one second, present the next. Instantaneous creation. Like a cure for cancer, the end of terrorism, the eradication of political corruption.
And while I absolutely believe that the Divine can make something from nothing, I think he prefers to make something with us and from us. He makes US new. He is the treasure we house in our broken down, cracked, chipped, beautiful, jars of clay bodies. We are his chosen medium. He, a housebound artist.
Just as his own body was torn to shreds, abused, beaten, bled out and murdered, only to rise again resurrected and re-created, so too can he take the tattered and torn pieces of our lives – not making them new like nothing ever happened – but making it joyful and beautiful even though, and because, stuff has happened. Jesus rose with the nail holes still in his hands. Maybe the artist (God) chooses to keep some of the scars for the beauty they bring to the bigger picture. Maybe they catch the light better…
OVER TO YOU… leave us a comment below!
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