Great Whirlwind, Burning Bush, Still Quiet Voice, LORD;
who hovered over the chaos of creation,
who breathed inspiring spring life into all creation,
who walks among us still in this fragile and tattered garden.
Challenge us to learn from one another,
so that we may recall your Spirit speaks through all creatures,
so that we may experience your presence and light in one another,
so that your voice will be in the tones of our conversation.
Jesus, Emmanuel, Wisdom Come Down in the Flesh, Amen.
“In the Beginning…”
This week I was honored to teach a Lay Speaking class on “Leading Prayer” for the Virginia United Methodist Conference. I begin this class with a simple and deep theological concept of Creativity in Incarnation. It goes something like this:
God Created us.
We are Created in the Image of God the Creator.
Thus All of Us are Creative.
I believe this with all my heart. Like Pablo Picasso said, “All children are born Artists, the miracle is that some of us stay that way.” We were born with a God-given nature to be creative. It is within our DNA to weave, to paint, to post, to gather words, sticks, and bits of dirt and make something new out of them.
And this really shouldn’t come as a surprise, because even Jesus was an Artist. Look at how he spins yarns and folk-tales. “There once was a man who had two sons…” Listen as he exaggerates beyond belief in hyperbole. “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle…” Watch as he takes mud and creates sight. Listen as he uses spit to make a man hear. Feel his warm welcome to a demoniac that a whole region had avoided and driven into the tombs.
Somewhere, someone along the way told you that you were not like God. They told said your drawing wasn’t right. They told you that your writing was incomprehensible. They saw what you built in wood-shop and derided it. They tore apart the genes of creativity that God had blessed you. They attempted to dampen or put out the spark of the Divine Creator, but today I say no.
Reclaim the incarnation of “Emmanuel” as God within us. There is a Creator who has placed within your heart a prayer, a song, a dance, a vision. Like a Muse posing before an Artist, God is battting eyes at you waiting for you to put your brush to the canvas. Be inspired. The Creative Creator Created You – a Creative Creation born to Create!
(c)2015, Nathan Decker. Worshipswake.wordpress.com
Teach a man to fish and he’ll have all the food he needs.
Then the rich built a fence around the lake.
And the factory poisoned the water with pollution.
And those in power said he couldn’t fish without a license.
God the system is rigged.
The poor keep getting poorer.
Social mobility is a myth.
What once was a living is now merely surviving.
Lord Jesus, hear our cries.
Spirit, speak through our voice for the silenced.
Spirit, vote through our vote for the disenfranchised.
Spirit, transform our hearts, minds, and souls.
Lord Jesus, hear our cries.
Move your Church to stand up to bullies.
-©2015 Worship’s Wake, Nathan Decker
This prayer is intended to be read to a group dramatically while the group sits in the silence and experiences God through contemplating where the guide leads them. It is based on the Genesis 1 Creation story. Enjoy.
All is dark. All is still. Everything is nothing.
All about you there is the deep.
The chaotic void surrounds you,
chokes you when you open your mouth to scream.
You are drowning in the meaningless night.
Within you there is a shattered dreamless lack of self.
But all at once you hear a whisper.
It stirs all the world as a breeze gently moving.
You feel the caress of the wind like a hand wiping tears from your eye.
You hear the voice in your ears, no, in your heart; the voice of one who loves.
“Light!” The voice says.
All is light. All is purpose. Nothing is Everything.
“Sky!” The voice says.
You gaze up into the bluest sky peppered with cotton clouds.
Anxious for the next word you wait in anticipation. Here it comes. The voice is not done!
“Earth!” The voice says.
Within your fingertips you grasp at the dirt. About your toes, you feel the sands of the beach cooled by the rush of an oncoming wave. The grass tickles your feet as you rush to climb a tree to hear what the voice says next:
“Sun, Moon, Stars!” The voice says.
And there the paintbrush of a thousand colors gives you the first sunrise and sunset. You watch in awe as bursts of light from millions of lifetimes away suddenly twinkle in the evening. The moon looms large in the sky as you hear the voice continue:
“Life!” The voice says.
From your perch in the tree you watch as a whale comes up for air from within the deep. A flock of birds flies suddenly from a nearby roost. Climbing down, you are greeted by a majestic buck chasing after a doe. You walk through this world, in wonder, in awe. What could the voice possibly says next. What could the Creator dream? What could the Architect build? What could the Carpenter design now?
“Love!” The voice says. “Love!”
All about you there is life.
The emptiness is pushed away and replaced,
You open your lips and feel
the breeze, the wind, the Spirit,
the breath of life enters you.
You are baptized in the meaningful light.
Within you there is a woven dream of what you can be and become. Amen.
From of Old, All know to come to you –
the poorest of shepherds to the richest of royalty
the wisest of astrologers to the common thief,
but we are afraid because coming to you means letting go.
Long ago you spoke active love into the stale stillness of non-existence,
and we refuse to listen
because to hear that love would shatter our apathy.
We hid in the darkness…
and you said, “Let there be light.”
We drowned ourselves in the chaos of the desert of meaninglessness
and you said, “Let there be land and sea.”
We sowed seeds of division in the garden,
burned the trees of truth and justice,
and slaughtered the lamb as if it were a lion:
and you said, “Let them be fruitful and multiply again and again.”
We denied being your children,
tried to hide our nakedness among the thorn bush,
and blamed you for our problems:
and you sent a child to bring all your children home.
And now New, to know you we come –
the poorest of mechanics to the richest of CEOs
the most studied professors to the dropouts,
and we are not afraid because coming to you means letting go.
–Nathan Decker ©2014 Worship’s Wake
God, you are the great Story-teller:
You spoke love upon the page of creation and “It was good.”
When our calamity and cacophony of sound interrupted,
You continued rocking in your chair,
kept on patiently telling your yarn.
Even when we began beating you,
choking the life from your lips;
You continued the tale, “Father, forgive them…”
God you are the great Story-teller.
Write your story upon our hearts.
Help us receive Your Story as Our Story.
Help us share Your Story for others to join Our Story.
God, you are the great Story-teller:
Speak Jesus to us, in us, and through us. Amen.