Making Ministry

As I’m clicking through all the things I’ve chosen to include in building this site, all the images and items that, to my mind have everything to do with ministry, I can see why someone might be asking, what do felt finger puppets have to do with faith?  (Hmmm… Jesus and the Disciples finger puppets– that’s a great idea!).  Here’s the best answer I can give you:

I believe that “making” connects us to God.  When we write, paint, craft, sew, cook, knit, crochet, make finger puppets, we are creating, we are using a part of ourselves that is given to us– GIFTED to us–by the Great Artist whose name is Love.  When we use the gift of our creativity, we connect with the God who made us, the Potter, the Baker, the Weaver, the Crafter of Mountains and Sculptor of Canyons and Painter of Spotted Owl Feathers.  How can we look at our world and NOT consider God an Artist?  And, by extension, it is the beauty of our world and the passions within us that inspire human beings to do the work we do– to make art in whatever way we feel moved.

Now, I’m not much of a sketch artist, and because I always wished I could draw, I never had much confidence in my skills as an artist.  Yet more and more as I came to know myself, I felt the need to “make”– to cook, to do crafts, to take photos, to write, and even to use chalk pastels and water colors.  As I grew into myself, I realized that some kind of “making” was essential to my mental, emotional, and– most importantly– my spiritual wellness and wholeness.  Sometimes I need the sound of metal knitting needles scraping softly to help me pray.  Sometimes I need to see my sons squeal with delight as they play Superheroes with finger puppets in order to feel joy and laughter in my soul.  Sometimes welcoming folks around a table of food I cooked reminds me of those who welcomed Jesus, and challenges me to expand my sense of hospitality to include more of God’s people.

As a pastor, over and over again I see God’s glorious gifted people stammer and hesitate when called to share their gifts.  Any kind of gift, not just artistic– “oh no, I could never pray out loud,” “I’m terrified of public speaking, I could never preach,” “I make a joyful noise, but choir’s not for me…”  I’m sure you’ve heard a few excuses or said a few yourself.  And when I try to add anything “crafty” or “artistic” in there, I get the same kind of hesitation.  To be such fabulous creations of the Divine, we human beings are so painfully insecure.  Yet we are so gifted.  So talented.  If only we had the courage to share what we’ve been given.

Imagine using art to change the world…

Imagine knitters and crocheters and fiber artists making hats, scarves and gloves for the homeless, donating blankets and hats to the oncology department of local hospitals, bringing lap quilts to the local retirement center…

Imagine quilters making blankets for the newly baptized, for confirmed youth, to commemorate loved ones lost to cancer or AIDS/HIV…

Imagine young people using painting, sculpture, multi-media collage– color, texture, form– to celebrate their beloved, created selves…

Imagine those who are grieving finding comfort, companionship, and consolation while creating something artistic and beautiful…

Imagine the broken finding healing as they co-create with God a vision of wholeness for themselves.

Jesus told us that the Kingdom of God was in our hands to build, a kingdom celebrating justice, equality and diversity. So often we feel helpless in making a difference, yet the Great Artist and Architect of our world “gifts” each beloved child with everything we need to tear down the walls of injustice that divide us and build a better world.

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