Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Thoughts on Art and Rest

As one who currently works in a primarily administrative role at work, I often long for the respite that creative activity brings.  I can turn on the music, pull out the collage materials (or sometimes design software) and go to town.  It happens this way usually: joy, rhythm, creativity, sputtering out....tired.  And I fear that this initial joy is only the result of not often having (or taking) the opportunity to make art these days.  Then I remember that creativity is a discipline, as well as a delight. 

I've been reading a couple of books on sabbath-keeping.  One is called Sabbath in the City by Bryan Stone and Claire Wolfteich (who happen to be my brilliant supervisors at work).   One of the major themes that the authors pick up as integral to Biblical sabbath-keeping is Creativity.  "The first [theme] emphasizes Sabbath as a time of awed respect for God as creator and for the wonder of the created world, an imitation of the divine rhythm of creation and rest, work and Sabbath.  Biblical texts clearly link Sabbath to the creation story: So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation (Gen. 2:3)."  I wonder about the process God encountered as he created the world.  The word "work" often brings to mind images of difficulty, obstacles, and even drudgery; but somehow I cannot believe that creating the world was drudgery.  There must have been bursts of joy as each new thing blossomed, birthed and breathed. 

Often, creativity=rest for me these days, but I remember times of rigorous studio work in years past, where the art was truly the work of the week.  Did God the Creator feel this burden?  He did, in fact, need rest afterward, and calls us to the same.  It is amazing that art can refresh and frustrate, sometimes simultaneously, and I celebrate this beautiful and exhausting gift of being made in His likeness. 

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