Well, we all know God is everywhere, in everything, even in each of us. Well, that is if we believe God exists. So many today in our culture do not. Even for those of us who do believe, many of us at various times in our life may have questioned God's existence. Or, at least questioned God, questioned why he allows evil things to happen in our fallen world.
Last week, I went on my second adventure on The Rock Boat. It's a fantastic time with about 25 bands and musicians, hosted by Sister Hazel. This year top acts also included NeedtoBreathe, Ed Kowalczyk from LIVE, Green River Ordinance, and many others. Four nights of craziness. At any given time between about 12 noon and 2pm, you have about 2-3 concerts to choose from. You can't possibly see everyone. Well, if you can, you have me beat. There's so much going on. Our boat departed out of Tampa on January 6, coasted into Costa Maya, Mexico on January 8, and then returned back to Tampa on the 10th.
As I sat listening to so many great musicians and artists, as I have through much of my life, I always marvel at their creative abilities - how do they piece together these harmonious sounds and come up with such moving lyrics?
And then, it makes me think about two authors I have read in the past five years. One is Father James Schall, a professor of government at Georgetown, who writes much about philosophy and political philosophy. In his book, On The Unseriousness of Human Affairs, he discusses how we all have a bit of the Creator in us. Think about it. From the beginning, God created us, he created the heavens, the earth, everything. We each have a bit of that "creative" juice in us as well. As Father Schall points out, being creative is something we have built in our DNA, sort of speak. (Ok, I'm seriously paraphrasing here).
I always like his example of the sport of football. How did it start? Someone created a ball (a funky ball at that). They then started tossing it to someone else. Then, others were involved and rules were created. Eventually, teams and leagues were created. And ultimately we professionalized it. He uses this example to teach us something about ourselves - and something about God. Look around at nature, over time God "professionalized" it Himself. Just like God, we mere mortals also want to continue to create and continue to make something we created better, more beautiful, more aspiring. So does God - except that He does it with perfection. Made in His image, we strive towards that perfection, always thirsting to go Higher and find our purpose.
Edmund Burke also comes to mind here. He once stated that "art is man's nature." What he meant by that is something similar to the above examples. God's "art," if you will, is in nature. Look at the Grand Canyon, the vast oceans, the stars, the moon, a lunar eclipse. These are all of the ways God has painted a picture for us. Ever catch a beautiful sunset when the colors in the horizon are in a way you felt you never seen quite like that before? I like to think that is God painting a unique picture just for me that day. His way of saying "hello, this is just for you." It brings a smile to my face, it warms my heart - even if just for a moment. It's God's way of catching us off guard, perhaps in the midst of a "busy" day, doing all those "important" things.
Contrast that with man. Our "nature" is in art. We can only replicate the Creator through art - painting, drawing, performing music, competing in sports, writing, singing, acting, teaching, dancing. As Father Schall would say, it is not our "work" - how we make a living - that defines us as individuals, as human beings. Rather, it is all of these seemingly "unserious" things that shows us what it truly means to be human.
Perhaps this is why I like music so much. It is a creative expression by individuals and by "bands" of individuals that come together to create something beautiful. Some of the highest forms of music have been directly proposed to worship the divine - think of how high liturgical music in church can carry you away spiritually - or how about even a simple rendition of Amazing Grace? Think of Mozart and Beethoven, who had their expression toward the divine. There's a reason their music is considered some of the best of all time.
But even when music isn't created directly for God - it still is inspired by that creative desire that we get from our Creator. We can easily forget those "important" things that keep us busy or stressed out and "lose ourself" in the moment. Why do we put on a cd in the car or on a run? Or even at work? Why do we go to concerts, listening to musicians perform live, singing along with them, perhaps even dancing to the beat? We are drawn towards something higher, something outside ourselves. We each have something to teach each other, we each have the ability to be creative. When we tap into the true spirit of the Creator, we learn something about ourselves and something about Him.