Multicultural CommunityMulticultural Worship

Create Together [by Grace Funderburgh]

Last month, I helped put on an event in Clarkston called Create Together. This event was intentionally set up to invite people from many nations, generations, and backgrounds to come together to create visual art, dance, and songs in a communal act of worship. The vision was big, and God showed up in huge ways. Below is a picture from the last few minutes of our creating time. They say that a picture speaks a thousand words, and in this instance I am going to let that picture do its thing…

I can’t describe everything that happened that weekend. But I can say that we intentionally facilitated a safe space among each other to offer up our gifts, our resources, our passions, our stories, our languages, and our cultures to God in a vulnerable act of co-creation. We collaborated, not just in how we wrote a song or how we painted a picture, but in how the dances, the songs, and the visual art existed in the same moment of worship. It wasn’t as much about what we came out with at the end of the night. It was about the process of creating.

Diverse peoples came together and meditated on Revelation 22:1–5. We embraced the process of creating and relinquished control of the outcome. We stepped into the Spirit as the ultimate facilitator and offered what each of us had to give in worship, creating space for art as the focused expression. The goal was the process together—not the product, the resource, or the tangible number.

At the same time as this event, I was reading a book called Between Two Trees written by Shane J. Wood. In this book, he talks about life lived between two trees—the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden, and the Tree of Life in the City of God. “Life in-between two trees is hard.” In this process of creating together, I saw heaven spill over and glimpses of the city we all long to be at. 

But at the same time I saw the painful places of process and transformation that, yes, bring us closer to full union with Him—but we are not quite there yet, and it hurts. The in-between is where we live, and where process in its appointed time and pace can either be embraced in beauty and transformation, or can take a back burner that’s eventually ignored or walled up.

Transformation happens in movement, in process. Movement too fast is in and of itself cancer. The appointed time of process is what I find myself most struggling with, and yet I know this can be the way that slow beauty is revealed and divine power takes over with union.

Where are you wrestling with process, and kicking against its appointed times?
How are you enjoying the process over the product? 
How do you see your community coming together to create?
Why is creativity even important? 
Should it be a priority in our worship?

I find my heart now turning toward the process of creating, over the product of creating. Magnifying the process of creating over the product of its resource, longing for a depth within the life of creation over the resolve of it. 

At the same time my heart screams against the process of healing, and desires the finished goal, the longing union, the blooming, flourishing life. I have recently found both of these identified processes dancing with each other. Sometimes this hurts, many times it feels uncomfortable, but overall it has broken down another wall in my worship.

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