God the Artist
“Know how to sustain with a word . . .” – Isaiah 50: 4
Artists know how to sustain with a word or a picture. Some of us imagine God is an artist. We are unapologetically anthropomorphic, creating God in our own image.
When we imagine God as an artist, we think we are doing God a favor. Then again, there is the possibility that we will remember what it is really like to be an artist. Does God have a day job? Or an agent? A proposal to be writer-in-residence due on Wednesday? What about the struggle to say something true? Does God have the never-ending unfinishedness of the unfinsihedness? Or what T.S. Eliot described so well as his inability to write because the “distractions from his distractions left him distracted”?
Creatives know what it is like to be so unsettled that all they want to do is settle down, only to discover just how boring settling down really is. Creatives understand the hassle of focusing. Seeing deeply. Finding what is light and gentle and soft in a hard world.
Is there an artist in you? Does she have a sustaining word? Does he know how to be God’s agent? Or does God work alone?
Refresh us, O God, with a sense of how little it takes—just a word or a picture—to refresh us. Put our hand on someone’s shoulder and let it matter.
Donna Schaper is Senior Minister at Judson Memorial Church in New York City. Her latest book is Approaching the End of Life: A Practical and Spiritual Guide.