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DECEMBER

Week 2. Spiritual Practice Material and Tradition Elements for this Block.
Creativity as participation in Gods creating and sustaining the world

CREATIVITY

We are Gods handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10 Do not be afraidfor you have found favor with God. Luke 1: 30 Objectives.
To encourage participants to see creative work as a form of spiritual practice. To be open to the Spirit moving them to creative work.

Background for Facilitator.


This session is intended to offer a creative outlet and to encourage creativity in many forms as a spiritual practice. As Paul writes in Ephesians 2:10, we are Gods handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Created in the image of God, and prepared in advance to do good works, our ability to join in the act of creation and creating is a real and palpable way that we can connect our selves and souls to God. Jan Richardson, minister, writer and artist, has several books connecting art and creativity to faith and the liturgical season of Advent. Her blog, The Advent Door, has plenty of resources for making this time of waiting rich, and her book, Night Visions is beautifully illustrated and helpful for entering into a creative season of waiting. The essay suggested for this session describes her process of attempting to create a visual representation of a biblical passage and expresses the notion of process creating isnt about getting something beautiful on the first try. Instead, its about being open to the Spirit leading us toward deeper understanding and communion. Sometimes, that takes time. This session invites participants to consider creating as a spiritual practice through an introductory video about inspiration, encouraging participants to be conduits for the Holy Spirit through an open-ended activity of creative expression. While the activity is somewhat freeform, we hope that the discussion about entering into communion with God through creating proves fruitful and deep.

For this session, please plan to spend 70-85 minutes together. Materials You Will Need.

Bibles Elizabeth Gilbert Ted Talk and some means to show the video to a group: (http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/elizabeth_gilbert_on_genius.html ) Jan Richardson blog entry (http://theadventdoor.com/2010/12/18/clothed-with-thesun/) paper, markers, scissors, paints, crayons, pastels, glue, any other craft supplies that seem fun and interesting and encouraging creativity.

Pillar Signature: Journaling. 5-10 min.


Each Spiritual Practice block will include a time for journaling. Some of these practices lend themselves naturally to journaling, and others are more active or focused on other sorts of activities. For each block of spiritual practice, invite volunteers to bring their journals and spend some time in the beginning of the session free-writing about how God has been at work in their lives recently, paying attention to where theyve seen God in their work, in their community life, in the world around them. For this month, start out with a free-write time for people to journal their initial thoughts about where creativity comes from and how God is at work in the art of creation.

Presentation of the Material. 20 min.


Show the Elizabeth Gilbert talk: http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/elizabeth_gilbert_on_genius.html

Gut Response. 2-5 min.


Ask participants, What did you think of the Gilbert clip? Have you ever had an experience similar to the ones Gilbert describes? Where do you find inspiration? Are moments of creativity often moments of spirituality and connection to God for you?

Engagement of the Material: Group Activity. 30 min.


Now, lead the group to consider the Jan Richardson blog entry: http://theadventdoor.com/2010/12/18/clothed-with-the-sun/ After reading the reflection from Richardson, invite participants into a creative space. Have a table prepared with all the art and craft supplies that youve gathered. Explain that youre going to be offering an opportunity for everyone to creatively interpret a passage of scripture. There are no rules, and the exercise will be supported with prayer. Read John 1: 1-16, twice. After the group hears the scripture, invite them to spend a good chunk of time interpreting what theyve heard with the supplies available. Make sure to have several bibles or print-outs of the text easily accessible so that participants can refer back to the passage for inspiration.

Group Reflection. 10-15 min.

After a generous block of time for creativity, ask the group to gather. Ask them to share their creations, and tell a bit about their inspiration as well as the process of creation. Ask them, What was the experience like? Did you experience this exercise as prayer? How so? What did you notice about yourself and about your process of creating?

The Tradition. 2-5 min.


God creates the world, and invites us to be co-creators alongside her. When we engage in artful forms of creativity painting, writing, dancing, cooking when we engage in these practices of creation, we join together with God in the constant creation and recreation of the world. We bring new things, new life, to birth.

Synthesis.
Invite participants to set aside time during the week to either complete their creations or to attempt again to interpret scripture through art and creativity.

Prayer.
God, We praise you for your wondrous creation, and thank you for the opportunity for us to join you as co-creators in the world. Guide our steps and our actions closer to you, come near to us as we open ourselves to inspiration and creativity. In this time of waiting, remind us that the waiting itself is fruitful and that creation often grows out of silence. Amen.

** additional resource materials/web links** Jan Richardson, Clothed with the Sun: http://theadventdoor.com/2010/12/18/clothed-with-the-sun/ Jan Richardson, Night Visions: Searching the Shadows of Advent and Christmas, (Pilgrim Press, 1998).