Prayer for Liverpool
The Canadian psychologist Professor Paul T.P Wong said, “Adversity is an opportunity for creativity, because is forces us to dig deeper and discover something new about oneself.” Which is, I suppose, a more eloquent way of saying that ‘Necessity is the Mother of Invention’. Well, just at the moment, many of us are surely putting those proverbs to the test! In all sorts of ways.
New talents are emerging. For example, one of our Zone 2 café-style church members evidently has a gift for joinery. As part of the Zone 2 service screened for last Sunday (29th March) we see Pete making a wonderful vegetable planter from bits of old decking. If you don’t believe me, have a look on the prayerforliverpool.org website and you will see the link to the service. I’ve heard of people starting to send poems to each other, after years of not writing any. Others are spending time making music, others in the garden, and still others joining in with on-line dance and exercise classes. My wife and I have benefitted from the culinary creativity of our neighbours in bread and cake – thank you folks! Some enterprising person posted on the Zone 2 WhatsApp group last week a quiz of Merseyside place names, ‘spelt’ with emojis! I’ve put them at the end of this blog for you to have a go at. Some of them are very tenuous – you have to think a bit laterally and loosely! But it’s all good fun. Many of the Cathedral clergy are having to upgrade our on-line creative abilities, by learning how to make little videos to upload to our new website
Last week, I wrote about appreciating the wonder of God’s creation around about us, and taking time – perhaps on our daily exercise - to savour the natural delights of this unfolding season of spring. The Bible tells us that we are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26) and one of the ways in which all of us bear the imprint of God is being, by nature, creative. Many of us adults bury our creativity – that may be the result of our schooling, sadly. My mother tells me that I used to write wonderfully creative stories as a youngster – apparently the saga of ‘The Roaring Lion’ (written when I was about 7) gave great enjoyment to quite a few members of my family. (Alas the manuscript has been lost to posterity!) Somewhere along the line, that aptitude seems to have been lost and, by the time I reached the age of 16, the crowning achievement of my literary ‘career’ was to achieve an ‘unclassified’ in English Literature O-level. I hear many people saying that they are not creative but it’s there in all of us, and may need a bit of encouraging out and nurturing. Now may be a good time to do that – both for the enjoyment of others, and also to help us maintain good mental health. Maybe a very positive thing we can do is to encourage each other in this endeavour. In our chatting over the phone, texting, and communicating on-line, is there someone this week that you can encourage to draw out their creative gifts and help them gain the confidence to share them with others, either now, or when things return to something like normality?
Prof. Wong says that, by digging deeper, we will discover new things about ourselves. I strongly suspect that he is right. There is, I am persuaded, something even deeper going on in these creative processes, be they existing or newly discovered; something spiritual, in fact. I am reminded of the story in Exodus 35 of the people of God in the wilderness after their release from slavery in Egypt. The desert life was certainly a place of significant adversity and yet God was with them, and had given them, through Moses, the Ten Commandments. God commanded them to fashion the Tabernacle, a large and colourful tent, in which the Law of God could be housed. Everyone brought items from their own possessions to contribute to this great collective endeavour. Bezalel and Oholiab, along with other skilled people, were tasked with gathering all these offerings into a final design. We are told that God, “filled them with skill to do every kind of work done by an artisan or by a designer or by an embroiderer in blue, purple, and crimson yarns, and in fine linen, or by a weaver – by any sort of artisan or skilled designer.” Bezalel himself was “filled with the divine spirit” so that his natural skills were amplified and applied by God’s Holy Spirit, the same spirit who had moved over the face of the waters at creation, no less. So God’s talents, skills and gifts of creativity are surely part of our spiritual life, and indeed can form part of our very worship of God. Like any good parent, God delights to see us ‘having a go’ and encouraging us to develop our aptitude. Can I even sense him chuckling about my ‘U’ in English Lit. and prodding me not to use that as an excuse never to try writing poetry again? In these days, when we are stymied in our opportunities for offering worship in a service in church, maybe, just maybe, God will show us new ways to worship him. Will we allow God to journey with us to discover more of his creative image in each one of us? Happy inventing!
And, as promised, here’s the emoji quiz of places in Merseyside. Can you guess where they are?
While you're here:
Why not prepare for next Sunday's worship? Our preparation sheet for adults and for children can be accessed by clicking on the Resources tab of this website: https://www.prayerforliverpool.org/prayer-resources.html.
Prayer for Liverpool
brought to you from Liverpool Cathedral
St James Mount
Liverpool Cathedral is a place of encounter.
Built by the people, for the people, to the Glory of God