“So what’s with the whole bit about kingdom living & creative living?”
Glad you asked. I’d love to share some thoughts, and I’d love to hear yours.
Reading through the Gospels, Jesus made it very clear that His mission on earth was to establish the kingdom of God – which is the rule & reign of God. In fact, the gospels mention the word “kingdom” over 100 times. Somehow, preachers today don’t seem to talk about the kingdom as much as Jesus did. I’ll save that for another post (evil laugh).
“Kingdom” is a difficult word to use today because the first thing we think of is military or political conquest. When we talk about “expanding the kingdom” of God in churches, it often sounds like a colonialistic effort to “take over” the world for Jesus. Some people even use the term to invoke an “us” & “them” mentality. This is an easy place to go, but far from what Jesus intended.
[Photo courtesy of Cody Davenport from CreationSwap.]
Jesus DID come to announce that He was a better king which ultimately got him killed, but He made it clear that His kingdom was unlike our kingdoms. It would not come through a violent takeover or establishing a new nation-state. This kingdom is one of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. This kingdom is about losing everything so you can gain everything. In order to enter this kingdom, you must be reborn.
When Jesus talked about the kingdom in parables and stories, He was vague at best. Even the disciples close to him were confused and a bit frustrated. Fortunately, for our sake, Jesus didn’t just talk about the Kingdom. He demonstrated it.
From the beginning of His ministry he turned water into wine, opened blind eyes, raised the dead, multiplied food, dined with the sinners, and rebuked the religious. All of these things have something in common – everything Jesus did was about loosening the grip of death and injecting life into the people He loved.
Shifting gears….we typically assign the word “creative” to something that has not been seen or heard before – a new idea or an interesting approach in a respective art or field. Yes, newness is part of the creative process, but it is also much more.
In the creation story, when God spoke the world into existence, creation wasn’t just about making something new. It was about initiating life – turning ideas into substance. Every living thing in the creative order is meant to sustain life or create new life.
I believe what Jesus wanted to show us is that kingdom people ARE creative people. Not to mean we are all “artsy”. But the very nature of kingdom living is partnering with Jesus to breathe new life into each day – our relationships, our conversations, our labor, and our art.
To be clear, I don’t believe this is about ignoring death, suffering, and all that is broken in our world. We should not be those who sweep the mess under the rug while determined to think “happy thoughts”. We have a better mandate.
We get to stare death and suffering in the eyes and announce that through Christ, resurrection is always a possibility.
We choose to face each day with a bent towards hope.
We have the option to reject cynicism, and inject imagination back into our thinking.
We build up people and restore places that have been devalued and torn down.
We joyfully bring healing to the lame and encouragement to the faint-hearted.
We push back darkness with the flame that burns inside us.
We spill love.
We make peace.
We fight for joy.
When we live this way, then everything we do – art, labor, and imagination all becomes creative in nature. For me, this is the essence of kingdom living and creative living.
What about you? Do you agree or disagree? What other connection do you see between spirituality and creativity? Leave a comment.