Grace and Peace,
Awareness, waiting, prayer, and praise is how we talk with God.
Makoto Fujimura believes we can do this through art and creating. We are God’s creation and God our Creator calls us to co-create. In co-creating, with our hands we connect, as a gardener connects with the soil, a musician with their instrument, a chef with the raw ingredients, a painter with the canvas; through this connection we can look deeply, we can listen deeply. His recent book “Art+Faith: A Theology of Making” is an exploration of these ideas and is our summer reading book for 2022.
We encourage everyone at St. John’s to read this book over the summer, and to participate in one, or many, of the discussions about this book. We will be holding discussion groups at differing times of the week so that everyone has the opportunity to participate. Discussions are currently scheduled for:
Sunday, 7 and 14 August at 9am
Tuesday, 9 August at 10am
Friday, 12 August at 6pm
Along with the discussions, we plan to practice some of these ideas through sessions of Praying In Color. This is a bit like a “paint night” event laced with prayer, but without the wine; it is the intersection of prayer and doodling, it is a visual, active, meditative, and playful way to pray for prayer-advocates of all ages. It promises to be fun, and a wonderful way to connect with God. Praying In Color sessions are currently scheduled for:
Friday, 24 June at 6pm
Friday, 15 July at 6pm
Friday, 19 August at 6pm
Every day is a gift from the Creator and one way we can give thanks for this gift is by joining with God and living into our gift of being a co-creator. Inside each of us, formed with God’s own hands in the clay, is the heart of a co-creator. Our exploration this summer will help us to see and recognize our own innate need and joy that is found in co-creation.
For Makoto Fujimura that co-creation comes with painting; his work has been described as “slow painting”, this is because of the intentionality of the centuries old process, and because he suggests that you need to spend time looking deeply at the work to truly see it. David Brooks, NYT columnist, writes about his art: “Mako once advised me to stare at one of his paintings for 10 to 12 minutes. I thought it would be boring, but it was astonishing. As I stood still in front of it, my eyes adjusted to the work. What had seemed like a plain blue field now looked like a galaxy of color.”
Our Creator is present, in the galaxy that He created, in the humanity that shares God’s image, in the world around us, our Creator is present if we take time to look deeply, if we take time to co-create.
Our summer reading journey this year will, we pray, open to us the ability to see deeply, listen deeply, and connect with our Creator. The book can be purchased through Amazon or other book sellers. If you need assistance purchasing the book please contact me. I look forward to our discussion and journey into a theology of making.
As a foretaste of the work of Makoto Fujimura, here is the closing benediction from his book:
Let us remember that we are sons and daughters of God, the only true Artist of the Kingdom of Abundance. We are God’s heirs, princesses and princes of this infinite land beyond the sea, where Heaven will kiss the Earth.
May we steward well what the Creator King has given us, and accept God’s invitation to sanctify our imagination and creativity, even as we labor hard on this side of eternity.
May our art, what we make, be multiplied into the New Creation. May our poems, music, and dance be acceptable offerings for the cosmic wedding to come. May our sandcastles, created in faith, be turned into a permanent grand mansion in which we will celebrate the Great Banquet of the Table.
Let us come and eat and drink at the Supper of the Lamb now so that we might be empowered by this meal to go into the world to create and to make, and return to share what we have learned in this journey toward the New. Amen.