All the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe—people and things, animals and atoms—get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death, his blood that poured down from the cross. Colossians 1:20 (MSG)
Properly Fixed and Fit Together – The Creative Series – Part 5
Paul wrote to his friends in Colossae and told them that Jesus was there in the beginning, that he created everything – it all got started in him, and he holds it ‘all’ together. His creative energy wraps it all up and keeps it all moving forward. Jesus “reconcile[d] to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.” Col 1:20 (NIV).
Reconciliation is about creating wholeness after a depleting experience. Which makes me feel two things:
First, relief! I can reconcile my past; I can be made whole. It’s a hopeful, empowering, ‘nothing-gets-wasted’ feeling.
Second, despair. Reconciliation is messy because it includes reconciling with other people.
In most Christian traditions, repentance is about turning to God. The idea is that reconciliation and redemption can only happen after repentance. Nice, neat, orderly. The Jewish tradition of repentance, Teshuvah, isn’t just about turning to God. It includes turning to OTHERS, too. Both are part of the redemptive process. We repent with God as we repent with one another. It runs hand in hand with a bunch of things Jesus said, including God’s two (really three) greatest commandments; “love God, love others, love you.”
Reconciling with God? Good news. Reconciling with others? The world around me? The awful things that are happening? That’s another story.
Abuse, neglect, greed, manipulation, lies, cheats, misunderstandings, offenses, lost time, harsh words, unrequited love, genocide, gendercide, misogyny, cultural differences, labels, wars, violence, tyranny, terrorism… Can we reconcile these things? The people involved in these things? Our involvement in these things?
Here’s where creativity comes into its own.
Creativity isn’t just about painting and writing and dancing. Reconciliation is a highly creative act. How we live and move in the world is how we share our soul with it. That’s creativity. How you respond, react, lean in, raise your voice, parent, comfort, protest, listen… These are all creative acts. And the work is never done because things keep on happening.
Perhaps the reason why so called ‘creative people' live with so much dissonance; why a lot of us struggle to feel complete and whole and at peace with the world and ourselves, is because the work is never finished. The creating is perpetual, relentless… Always marching onwards whether we are ready or not.
‘All things new' isn’t about creating a clean slate, a new shiny skin, or a past that's perfect and clean. The newness Christ brings into our lives is reconciling, not forgetful, of our past and present. The cross takes those experiences to somewhere hopeful, inclusive, restorative and new. Resurrection. And it's in the process that the newness is created. As we keep on living and keep on experiencing, Christ keeps on creating new ways of thinking, living, loving, forgiving and being forgiven, into our lives. We’re always a work in progress.
What the cross shows us about God's creative power is that the worst thing that can happen to a human being can happen, and it's not the end. “All the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe—people and things, animals and atoms—get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death, his blood that poured down from the cross.” (Col 1:20 MSG)
Not just between you and God. But you, your enemy, your neighbor, and God. All of it.
Written by Lizzy Milani