Pentecost (typically 50 days after Easter) is the celebration of the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples. The power of the Holy Spirit was the catalyst that got the followers of Jesus out from behind locked doors, making them bold and unafraid to speak their truth and to carry on the work that Jesus had begun.
This is how I’ve always thought of Pentecost. Then Matthew Fox in his book, Creativity, added another layer that makes perfect sense, but one I hadn’t really connected. This Spirit that alighted upon them was not only the promised coming of the Spirit of truth, but was an intimate encounter with “God the Creative Spirit.” And it is this creative spirit which helps us to bring to birth that which is inborn in us… that which has always dwelt in the depths of our beings.
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Typically we think of creativity in terms of aesthetically pleasing or artistic creations: painting, drawing, poetry, writing, gardening, music, sculpture, etc. And when we think of God as Creator, we immediately think of God creating the earth, people, animals, plants, etc.
What if we expanded these definitions or understandings? Let’s look at the scripture for a minute… if we listen closely to the Pentecost story in Acts 2, we see that the Spirit’s first act is to symbolically create a world of harmony and understanding by undoing the separation caused in the ancient Hebrew story of the Tower of Babel.
In the story of the Tower of Babel, God caused people to speak in different languages so they couldn’t understand one another to work together to build a tower to reach heaven. In Acts, with the power of the Spirit, people speak in different languages but this time everyone understands! The people are awestruck.
So, our broader definition of “creating” now encompasses creating bridges of understanding between people. We can also create relationships, businesses, inventions, safe spaces, nurturing families, homes, places and ways of healing and helping. It is the Creative Spirit that gives us strength, courage, imagination, and determination to create things that are life-giving and healing.
Thich Nhat Hanh, in Living Buddha, Living Christ, describes Jesus as “someone animated by the energy of the Holy Spirit.” Does that mean Jesus was creative? Absolutely. He created a movement to revitalize Judaism and refocus on love, justice and compassion. He created a space around him of learning, loving, acceptance and healing.
We, too, are “animated by the energy of the Holy Spirit” when we create. We may not name it as such, but I believe that when things start flowing creatively… whether a piece of art, a work of poetry, your garden, a relationship, a brainstorming session… it is that we’ve touched the creative flow of the Spirit in the very depths of ourselves.
Matthew Fox shares a story about psychologist Carl Rogers who wrote about this very experience. “In a letter to theologian Paul Tillich he wrote: “I feel as though I am somehow in tune with the forces of the universe or that forces are operating through me in regard to this helping relationship.” And his creativity as a therapist elicited awe from him: “I stand by with awe at the emergence of a self, a person, as I see a birth process in which I have had an important and facilitating part struggling to be himself, yet deathly afraid of being himself.””
How many of us have felt “in tune with the forces of the universe” at the moment of creation, whether it was music, or teaching, or making a diagnosis which would help someone heal? And, how many of us have remembered to stand by in awe as we saw the result of our co-creating with the Spirit?
The more I think about this, the more I realize we have opportunities to co-create with the Spirit every day.
The flip side is that every day we also have the opportunity to destroy everything we’ve created. When we ignore the Spirit, lose our center, get caught up in our fears and insecurities, when we let our egos keep us from humbling ourselves or forgiving others, when we won’t risk or won’t be vulnerable, or won’t seek help… we can too easily destroy relationships, families, homes, jobs, trust, not to mention our health and well-being.
If we really create daily, then the big question for us each day is: what will we create today? Will we allow ourselves to be animated by the spirit, to tap into the flow of the universe and let what is within us be born? Will we create nurturing, trusting relationships by opening and being vulnerable, by showing compassion and love? Will we create a safe space in our lives for friends and family? Will we create something beautiful? A piece of art? A garden? A letter or piece of poetry? Will we create a healthy relationship with our own bodies, minds and souls? Will we create safe working spaces? Will we create healthy boundaries for ourselves?
The Spirit is with you, what will you create today?
Love & Light!