“And the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God swept across the swirling chaos.”
It’s interesting that Covid is a virus that takes your breath away. It’s also an anti-creativity virus that takes our capacity to create away.
God’s first creative acts involve Word and Breath. God speaks and there is light. God breathes and the Spirit sweeps over the swirling chaos, bringing forth beauty, goodness, and truth.
Later, God breathes into us the breath of life, and we become living-breathing-beings (Gen 2:7). Only God can create ex nihlio (out of nothing), but God invites us into the naming, word-breath-speaking, co-creation process (Gen 2:20).
Paul makes up a word to describe the inspired nature of the Scriptures… θεόπνευστος (theopneustos) “God Breathed” (2 Tim 3:16). For Christians, we believe we carry the breath of Jesus in our lungs (Jn 20:22) and we have somehow been restored to that pre-fall, co-creation, state (2 Cor 5:17).
Debilitating headaches, fatigue, aches and pains, loss of gustatory and olfactory senses, are minimal compared to what others infected with Covid have experienced. Some of our loved ones went onto ventilators and never came off.
For me its been mostly a virus of anti-creativity. I’m laying in the formless void of my blacked-out room, waiting for the Spirit to sweep across my broken brain. As someone who lives to create and creates to live, not being able to participate in the co-creation process is hard.
Writing is a spiritual discipline for me. It allows me to participate in that breath, word, creation process with God. It centers me. It helps me make sense of my own inner world, as well as the context around me. My mental life constantly fluctuates between observation and reporting. Prayerfully collecting, distilling, and sharing spiritual wisdom is a central aspect of life for me. It is an unending adventure of learning, reflecting, and articulating those discoveries in written word for others. My work as a preacher, professor, speaker, and missionary, all flow from my primary vocation as a writer.
I’ve written six books and currently have deadlines for several more. But when I sit in front of the screen, I have only minutes before my head starts to ache. The words don’t flow from my mind to my fingers. Producing 500-word blog posts and even handwriting morning journal entries is a struggle.
This time of pause and reflection has awakened me to the miraculous nature of the writing process itself. A God-dream formulates in the imagination and flows out onto a page. That is a miracle of co-creation!
This is true of all creative expressions I suppose, whether it involves the precise movements of our bodies in dance or athletics, the skillful stroke of a brush on canvas, the perfect placement of a brick in a wall, or a well prepared meal.
The normal creative things we do every day are just magical and miraculous.
Sometimes it takes our inability to do them to show us how true this is.
How is God’s breath sweeping across your swirling chaos today? How often do we take for granted our capacity for co-creation with God? Or marvel at how technological flows enable us to breathe forth words across the earth in seconds? How many millions of minute-by-minute miracles do we take for granted, including the gift of another day of life itself?