A Place for Creatives

Scripture Focus: 1 Chronicles 6:31-32
31 These are the men David put in charge of the music in the house of the Lord after the ark came to rest there. 32 They ministered with music before the tabernacle, the tent of meeting, until Solomon built the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem. They performed their duties according to the regulations laid down for them.

Reflection: A Place for Creatives
By Erin Newton

Chronicles creates a bookend to the Hebrew Bible. Forming the final words of God before Christ, the message is a reminder of what God has done and the promises he has kept to his people—his exiled, battered, traumatized, and faith-shaken people.

They had been the outsiders, the misfits, the foreigners. Even when it was time to “go home,” the place they returned to was nothing like what they had left.

Some people were hand-picked to lead the people out of exile and into a new life. Ezra, Nehemiah, and Zerubbabel were just three people out of a multitude. We know a lot about them. The rest of God’s people seemed destined to be nameless and forgotten.

But God took the time to guide the Chronicler through a history of his people—name after name after name. God had not forgotten. Each name is the word of God saying, “I didn’t forget him” and “This one, she’s special to me.”

Among that list is a set of musicians, the creatives of the group. They were given the task of creating songs, performing music, and providing an avenue for worship to a people who did not have the same talents.  

I’m a member of a group of writers that come together to encourage and provide advice for one another. Most of the group are fiction writers. They take pen and paper and manage to turn ink into beauty. I have heard soul-stirring narratives, spirit-lifting comical scenes, and emotionally riveting memoirs. The gifts displayed in this small group are incredible, but each writer often gives a dismissive shrug, “I’m not a real writer.”

And so, the inner critic lies to us, as Ruth Buchanan would say. In a place where we find so much joy, we doubt our place, our importance, our worth.

Even more when we look at those gifts among God’s people. A few chosen people usually lead the church by preaching and teaching. Are the rest forgotten? This list of musicians would suggest not.

Artists are features of the church, not accessories. The creatives are highlighted as important among God’s people. We must recognize the gift of creativity and the talent offered to the body of Christ. The God who clothes the lilies and paints the sky has given a bit of himself in these people. Let us invite more beauty into our worship through the hands of the creatives.

Divine Hours Prayer: The Greeting
Splendor and honor and kingly power are yours by right, O Lord our God,
For you created everything that is, and by your will they were created and have their being. — A Song to the Lamb

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
1 Chronicles 5-6  (Listen 12:53)
Psalms 81-82 (Listen 2:36)

Read more about The First Spirit-Filled Work
The first Spirit-filled individuals were artisans, builders, makers. Their skilled minds, hearts, and hands wrought God’s people a place to meet with God.

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Extra Ordinary Prayer

From John: 
Read the Bible. Reflect and pray. 

That is the two-pronged, ultra-simplified vision that we have for our readers. This week and part of next we take some time to curate and comment on some classic readings about prayer that may strengthen and encourage us in the practice of prayer.

Reflection: Extra Ordinary Prayer
By John Tillman

A kind of prayer that can have a profound difference in our lives is what Richard Foster refers to as “Ordinary Prayer.” Ordinary Prayer is anything but ordinary. It is seldom well-practiced. I would not say that we need less of any kind of prayer, but we could all use a little extra ordinary prayer.

Part of this type of prayer is putting our prayers into action. It is praying less with whispered words and more with the sweat of our brows and the work of our hands. A key part of Praying the Ordinary is the Prayer of Action.

Speaking of the Prayer of Action in his book, Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home, Richard Foster quotes, Jean–Nicholas Grou: “Every action performed in the sight of God because it is the will of God, and in the manner that God wills, is a prayer and indeed a better prayer than could be made in words at such times” Foster continues, “Each activity of daily life in which we stretch ourselves on behalf of others is a prayer of action…These times are lived prayer.”

We enact prayers by putting what we say to God, ask of God, and know of God into all we do. C.S Lewis noted that the woman, noisily cleaning the sanctuary of a church and distracting him as he attempted to pray during the day, was praying with action, saying, “her enacted oratio is probably worth ten times my spoken one.”

But we do not need to be serving in a church or cleaning one to enact our prayers. Foster continues:

“Another way of Praying the Ordinary is by praying throughout the ordinary experiences of life. We pick up a newspaper and are prompted to whisper a prayer of guidance for world leaders facing monumental decisions. We are visiting with friends in a school corridor or a shopping mall, and their words prompt us to lapse into prayer for them, either verbally or silently, as the circumstances dictate. We jog through our neighborhood, blessing the families who live there. We plant our garden, thanking the God of heaven for sun and rain and all good things. This is the stuff of ordinary prayer through ordinary experience.”

We carry prayer with us into every moment of our lives. As we do, may our actions be blessings not curses, carrying the good news of the gospel.

*Quotations from Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home, Richard Foster

Divine Hours Prayer: The Call to Prayer
Bless our God, you peoples, make the voice of his praise to be heard;
Who holds our souls in life, and will not allow our feet to slip.— Psalm 66:7-8

Today’s Readings
1 Chr 5-6  (Listen -12:23)
Hebrews 10  (Listen -5:33)

This Weekend’s Readings
1 Chr 7-8 (Listen -9:04), Hebrews 11  (Listen -6:22)
1 Chr 9-10 (Listen -6:48), Hebrews 12  (Listen -4:36)

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Read more about Prayer as Vocation
To some, it might be a surprise that one of the primary definitions of the word “vocation” is a divine calling.

Read more about Cultivating Daily Bread
Daily bread refers to a daily need for God and purposely highlights the need for spiritual disciplines that are required for us to grow in faith.