My river stones are beautiful individually, but they are even more beautiful when arranged to form a pattern. My initial thought was a rose, with the one dark stone at the centre. But it wasn’t long before I was rearranging them – an open circle, a question mark, a cairn, – so many possibilities. If I added more stones even more patterns could emerge. The variety was only limited by my imagination.
“God created by imagination”(Berdyaev) I thought and “Creativity gives birth to more creativity.” The life lived in step with the Holy Spirit is a little lot like the imaginative shaping of patterns with my stones. There is a need for discipline and structure. There has to be unity. But there is also freedom – an improvisation – to follow the call and leading of the Spirit.
The longer I contemplated my stones, the more creative my imagination became and the more innovative the designs that emerged were. God must have incredible imagination to create a world that is ever changing and ever fresh with something new and awe inspiring to discover each day. Yet somehow in the practice of our faith we have learned to deaden our imaginations and stifle our creativity.
Don’t Confuse Discipline with Empty Ritual
One of the surprising things I notice as I read the Bible is that there seems to be more said about when to pray then about how to pray. We are told that Daniel prayed three times a day, Jesus often drew aside to lonely places to pray and of course spent days in the desert in prayer before he inaugurated his ministry but we are told little about what went on during that time. Yes we make lots of assumptions about what was going on. We know that Jesus was tempted by the devil, but I cannot imagine that this temptation was all that happened during his time in the wilderness.
Perhaps part of what happened while Jesus was alone in prayer was that he learned new ways to pray, new patterns that had the disciples hungering for what they observed … and of course out of that came the most enriching prayer of all time – the Lord’s prayer. But that too we have made into a formula.
What seems to be important for the people of God is that they pray regularly, bringing themselves into that place of intimacy with God where new beginnings can be imagined and new things can be birthed. So my challenge to all of us this morning is:
What stirs your creativity? How can you use the special creative tools God has placed within you to imagine new ways to pray and both draw close to the God of infinite creativity and respond to the needs of our hurting world?
This post is part of a three post series of meditation on rocks. Here are the other posts’