August 1, 2021

Sunday Worship, The Gift of Creativity

 

a CMCLer Pandemic Creation: fairy garden made by the Weigels in May 2020

Prelude—Yes, of course I can, from Robert Fulghum’s musical, “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten,” performed by Parkland High School.

Lighting the Peace Lamp—

I watch this morning
for the light that the darkness has not overcome.
I watch for the fire that was in the beginning
and that burns still in the brilliance of the rising sun.
I watch for the glow of life that gleams in the growing earth
and glistens in sea and sky.
I watch for your light, O God,
in the eyes of every living creature
and in the ever-living flame of my own soul.
If the grace of seeing were mine this day
I would glimpse you in all that lives.
Grant me the grace of seeing this day.
Grant me the grace of seeing.

—John Philip Newell (STS #177)

Welcome/Call to Worship— Welcome to CMCL. To CMCL on Zoom. A way of meeting that is only possible because of someone’s creativity. That is the theme of the service today: to create. I can’t think of a church that is imbued with more creativity and more people who create, than CMCL. But it’s important to remember, that just as some people create art and music and novels, there are people who create meals and fires in the fireplace, and order out of chaos at home and at work. Today we celebrate all such people. And what I’m wearing today is an example of creating: my bowtie was created (out of stethoscopes!) by my son.

First thing God did
was not to say,
no this is what
you must not do—
first thing God did
was to create.

First thing God did:
was to create.
And it was fun:
God said,
when God was done
“Now this is good.”

First thing God did
was to create.

And then we read
that we were made
just like this God.

And so
just like this God
baking pies
and writing poems
and building barns
and writing code
and stenting open arteries
and digging wells
and teaching five-year-olds to read

is what we do
and what we love to do.

        Joseph Gascho

Gathering Hymn— Praise with joy the world’s Creator, VT #428/STJ #16 

Children’s Time— Darrell Yoder

Offering (video)—Thank you for your continued support of your congregation. Our budget supports our staff, our building, our congregational care, and our outreach commitments. We are grateful that this community can be a place to seek and give mutual aid and to reach out beyond our community, too. Thanks so much for being the church and giving to the work of the church.

Creator God,
we offer you our hands and hearts and all we make.
Thank you for everything you give to us.
Amen.

Offertory— God, who touches earth, HWB #511

CMCLer “Create” Reflections 


Joseph Gascho: Funktionslust (video)

Mary Alice Ressler: Quilting (video)

Susan King: Mosaic (video)

Roger Lentz: Painting and Baking — The pandemic encouraged me to spend time alone creating through painting and baking. Here are some pics:

  

 

Frank Carano: Mosaics  Here are some photos of mosaics that I have been working on. It was a fun and creative to work on some of these during the pandemic. I designed them to cover a new post that we had to have placed to support our pergola. 

    

Ellen Kanagy: Art Journalling  I seem to rediscover over and over that when I am creating art in some form, I feel the most whole and happy. I try to let go of perfectionism and the need to eventually SHOW what I create, although sometimes can’t do that completely.

What I’ve been dabbling in recently is art journaling. I have a book and each page is different. (I’m drawn to the “anything goes” idea of art journaling, there are a lot of variations, and a lot of freedom!) I watched a lot of videos and was inspired to try some different styles than I’ve ever done before. I also took a low cost online course on abstract acrylic painting and had fun with that for a time, now I sort of combine the two, along with collage and mixed media! I also joined a couple of Facebook groups that provide ongoing inspiration.

Sometimes the art journal pieces are around a quote I want to sink my head and heart into. Sometimes they are pure fun and/or experiments. Sometimes painting or collaging are ways to deal with feelings. Sometimes a page is worked on in increments over several days or even several weeks! I’m learning to give myself lots of freedom in how/when I integrate art into my life. I often include art in my silent retreat times.

  

Leslie Homer-Cattell: Porch Painting — One of my creative outlets during the pandemic I was painting a porch rug at my house. The design was replicated from a painting my mother’s father did when he was 13 years old growing up in the Czech Republic. The original was given to my mother when she finally had a chance to visit the Czech Republic almost 20 years ago when she was in her 60s. It is framed in my mother’s living room along with a second piece of art he made that I might use to decorate the chairs or the post at the corner of this porch:

   

In the midst of busy weeks this spring, I looked forward to coming home in the evenings and painting the porch. It gave me joy to have this connection with one of my three immigrant grandparents (this one a grandfather I never knew who lived in a different country until he was in his 20s and who died suddenly when my mother was only nine.) it made me smile to think what a teenage boy like him would have thought about a descendent in the US replicating his art!

It was also fun to surprise my mother with this unveiling on Mother’s Day.

ScriptureExodus 35:30-35

ReflectionSusan Gascho-Cooke: Creating “in the Shadow of God”

The scriptures begin with God creating. Divine creation and re-creation are threads that weave not inconspicuously through Jewish and Christian scripture, from Genesis to Revelation. Although people of Judeo-Christian traditions have vehemently disagreed over what divine creating looked like: was it a literal six days? is the hand of God visible in evolution? was creation once and donea watch, once wound, that we simply witness the ticking of? or is creation on-going, and all of us invited to collaborate?

So, God as Creator is not a new image. But are there images of human creators in the Bible? I realized I’d never really looked for them before … And I had certainly never paid any attention to Bezalel before. But what a description: “filled with divine spirit, with skill, intelligence, and knowledge in every kind of craft: to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, in every kind of craft.” This is a creative guy, which makes sense, given that he was entrusted with the designing and building of the Temple.

But his name: his name means “in the shadow of God” — BTZAL-EL. I usually think of creation as paired withlightthe light of inspiration, anilluminatedmanuscript is one in which art or pictures accompany text. What does it mean to create “in the shadow of God”?

While the CMCLers who chose to respond to today’s prompts about creating all shared about ways that they werecreative in the pandemic, I know I am not alone in experiencing a painful lackof creativity this last year and half. Light was not my friend this year.

I felt over-exposed … to the barrage of news, to the fear of contagion, to the many instances of racial brutality coming to light.Light was not my friend this year.

So, shade? Nestling in the shadow of divine presence? I can almost feel my body release and disarm … Exhaling.

In Luke 13:34, Jesus laments over Jerusalem: “How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings…” The shade of soft, strong wings… In the shadow of God…Btzal-El

Sometimes creation requires the dark seclusion and protection of a womb. So, this morning I say:

Maybe this year gave you circumstances in which your creative spirit thrived. 
If so, blessed be you! 
     May your thriving continue to be a witness of hope to many, 
     and a testament to the power of resilience.
Maybe this year gave you circumstances that aimed to choke you, 
     but your creative spirit roused and raised you, helping you survive.
If so, blessed be you! 
     May the Divine Creative Spirit continue to breathe air
     over the embers of your creativity, 
     fanning it into life-sustaining energy for you.
Maybe this year gave you circumstances, 
     in response to which your creative spirit seemed to lie dormant,
      just another absence in a year of many.
If so, blessed be you! 
     May you rest in the shadow of the Divine, 
     trusting that your spirit will know when the time is right
     to emerge once more.
Beloved creatures of a Loving Creator: 
     you were loved into being.
     So, fear not, but create in love, and let love create within you.
     Amen.

Sharing TimePlease email your prayer requests or reflections this morning to susan@communitymennonite.org. They will be sent out by email by Monday morning.

Announcements—

In-person worship: Sunday, August 15, Church on the FarmatGrandview Winery, 1489 Grandview Rd, Mt Joy PA. We will do our best to provide a Zoom connection to this in-person service. We will be celebrating baptisms, welcoming new members, and blessing our senior youth who are finishing high school this year.

Worship-on-your-own: Sunday, August 8, the theme of our worship is “The Gift of Silence.” There will beno live Zoom OR in-person service on Sunday, August 8. We will send out resources for you to worship in silence at a time and place of your own choosing, as well as some simple prompts for practicing communion on your own. As you think ahead to communion, enjoy these photos from Jane and John Weigel on a creative way their family communed across the distance during the pandemic:CMCLer Pandemic Creation Jane Weigel: Virtual Family Cook-offsOur family did a cook off or bake off every Sunday [during the pandemic]. Even though we are miles apart, we shared our photos and my 99 year old mother was the judge. My husband picked the theme and we competed for the best presentation and hopefully, taste as well. For example, we had categories of Thai, Greek, one-dish, fruit inspired, and Italian dinner. It started with cast iron dishes and expanded to entire meals. mom loved being involved as she was an excellent cook and baker. We had a healthy competition going for months from Pennsylvania to California.

These photos are from the Weigel family’s Thai cook-off:

Closing Hymn—Go Now in Peace, VT #835

Benediction

Creator God,
we go out this week, creating,
because we were made in your image
by You, the Sculptor, Creator.
Help us to use our creative urge
to fashion works of every kind
that please and satisfy You,
that make the world a better place:
works that all will say: Now that is good!
Now that is very good.
Amen.

        Joseph Gascho


mosaic in progress by Susan King

Worship Leader: Joseph Gascho
Peace Lamp Lighter and Scripture Reader:Daniel Erdman
“Create” Reflections:Joseph Gascho, Mary Alice Ressler, Susan King, Roger Lentz, Frank Carano, Ellen Kanagy, Leslie Homer-Cattell, Susan Gascho-Cooke, Jane Weigel
Children’s Time: Darrell Yoder