Christine Sine responds to the question: If you were only able to say one thing at a North American creativity, spirituality & justice festival, what would it be?
I have a friend who recently became her granddaughter’s guardian. It is like rediscovering childhood. She is constantly looking, listening and questioning, opening her eyes and ears to the wonder of God’s world. She senses God’s presence in the song of birds and the whisper of the wind. Watching a ladybug on a leaf is an exciting adventure in which she discovers new facets of God’s mystery and breathtaking beauty.
Childhood is filled with creativity and imagination, a place of mystery and wonder, in which kids discover themselves, the world and the God who created it. Life is about seeing colours adults never notice and conversing with creatures adults think don’t exist.
In her book Walking on Water, Madeleine L’Engle reminds us that all children are born artists endowed with rich unfettered imaginations, their senses touched by compassion and love. Unfortunately, as we grow we are corrupted by the “dirty devices of the secular world” where myth and fairy tale must be discarded and compassion gives way to competition. Childhood’s vivid purple clouds and yellow skies give way to the real world where clouds are white and skies are blue.
We squelch creativity and imagination forcing kids to live in the real world of science and technology where leaves are made of molecules and rainbows are caused by light refraction. Life is about buying goods we don’t need and holding jobs we don’t enjoy. God fits in a tiny box we open on Sunday or for a few moments each morning.
“We write, we make music, we draw pictures because we are listening for meaning, feeling for healing And during the writing of the story, or the painting, or the composing or singing or playing, we are returned to that open creativity which was ours when we were children. We cannot be mature artists if we have lost the ability to believe which we had as children. An artist at work is in a condition of complete and total faith.”
Surely this is part of what Jesus means in Matthew 18: 2-4:
“I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
To gain God’s perspective of life we must learn once more to see as children see and believe as children believe. That means rediscovering the wonder and imagination of God’s dreams and promises. What would happen if we all saw life with the imagination and creativity of a child, discovering that each day is an adventure of looking, listening and learning? What would happen if we turned away from the boxes of conformity our culture has imposed on us and allowed our imaginations to break free? What would happen if we rethought what we are on the planet for with the compassionate dreams of God at the centre?
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The Wild Goose Festival is excited about our children’s program, and the ways it will open up the wonder children feel about God, creation, ourselves and each other. Watch this space for more details soon. Tickets for children and adults are available here.