When I grow up, I want to have a throwing wheel in my house. When I throw, all my problems seem to go away. I get in this zone where the only thing that matters is the creation I am making literally out of mud. I am playing “God” in a sense, but I do not find joy in the result; I find joy in the process.
I would regard myself as a contemporary artist in that the process is just as (if not sometimes more) important as the result. It is one of the few areas in life where the end goal is not an accolade of some sort. Yes, there are contests and prizes for contemporary pieces like any other form of art, but the true artist does not find their value in that.
Is God a contemporary artist? At first I am tempted to say no. He physically made us very quickly. We are man, and our physical figures were formed at conception. “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them…God saw all that he had made and it was very good” (Genesis 1:27, 31a.) Based on this passage, God had created, and he was content with his creations.
Upon more thought, I think that God is a sneaky contemporary artist. God enjoys and loves his physical creations, but that is not the limit of his work. (Side note: I love how we try to limit God but he is like “no thanks. I am going to do my thing.” But that story is for another day.) His work is done at the end of time and his children enter his kingdom; until that day, he constantly molds us and shapes us. I am a work in progress and you are a work in progress–a work that God so delicately touches in order to bring you closer to him. He works through the unexpected ways, but he loves to work through his children–his other creations.
I am reminded of the artist Sol LeWitt. LeWitt writes blueprints for massive installations but rarely touches a wet drop of paint or the cold surface of a pencil. He often would not even step in the gallery until the work was deemed finished by curators. God laid the blueprint of our lives through creating a unique body and placing us each in a specific family to form our lives, but that is only the beginning. We flourish as we grow with age; we flourish as we let God mold us and shape us into what he intends us to be.
The obvious verse Isaiah 64:8 comes to mind: “You Lord are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” Without allowing God to mold and shape us, we are just a lump of dry dirt sitting ing bags or out in nature just living. As we are thrown on the wheel, we are dramatically changed. Water is constantly being added to make us more maleable, and excess clay that takes away from the overall piece or weighs down a particular part of the piece is scraped off. We are constantly spinning but at changing rates depending on the level of detail and force that must be applied.
If I have children some day, I want them to be intimate with this process. I would love for them to see the obvious metaphor of allowing God to be their potter. I want them to actively participate in the sacred process of creation. I want them to personally know how difficult some blocks of clay are and how to work through those, only applying perseverance just the right amount of force. I want them to know when to barely touch the clay and when to just let it be.
When I grow up, I want to have a throwing wheel in my house.