Inevitably each year at re:create, a beautiful painting emerges.
This phenomenon has recurred for the past thirteen years.
Refreshment, encouragement, and diffusion of ideas always stand out as the primary colors of our gathering, but it’s the pattern that emerges and surprises us, that ties the composition together and provides what Aquinas, and later Joyce, calls claritas.
To wax philosophical for a moment, claritas is the quidditas of re:create.
And I suppose that’s what this post is all about. Basking in the glow of another epiphany.
To wit: There is a fine line between carpe diem and who gives a $#*!
This high and noble calling, the ministry—that of, apostle, clergy, converter, evangelist, herald, messenger, missioner, pastor, preacher, promoter, propagandist, proselytizer, revivalist, teacher—requires more than we are.
We put on our minister’s cloak and seize the day with every fiber of our being as the adoring (and needy) ones with whom we live, work and play press in to touch the hem of our garment.
And then we wearily doff the shroud and try to sedate the lonely nights…with our medicine of choice.
Walking this fine line between carpe diem and who gives a $#*! requires sacrificing our being at the cross of self-denial.
The magic in our lives gets churched out. We’re left heartsad, not knowing why.
That is why we so desperately need the refreshment and encouragement re:create offers.
We need to pause and see motes of sand turning in shafts of light. To have moments of knowing and remembering. We need to get weepy and dive deeply into the golden pool of mystery.
Because, soon enough, we return to the hard sun of logic and reason. And we dry up. Again.
The moments of knowing and remembering at re:create 2013 began when Cindy Morgan painted the initial brushstrokes with her haunting rendition of Mother Lode. The next day, Graham Kendrick provided a beautiful wash of soothing color as he led us in spontaneously singing psalms.
Trevor Morgan subtly added another layer to the painting with his passionate singing and lyric, maybe you’ve been kicked around, but you can lay your burden down. Mike Woolley brought time honored wisdom with a fetching southwestern drawl, urging us to care for ourselves before it’s too late, and provided much needed layers of experience and colloquialisms.
The composition of the painting took shape as a call to gather at the Lord’s table issued from the double reed of Niki Taylor, or should I say, Gabriel’s oboe. J.R.Taylor’s emotionally charged guitar and vocal rendition of the Lord’s Prayer, and the soothing british accent of Mark Jaffrey reading Exodus 35:30-36:7 reminded us what happens when artists give with all their being.
Giving the painting more depth, Audrey Assad sang the words, He came like a winter snow, quiet and soft and slow, that we will be restless until we rest in Him, and be strong.
The vocal stylings and diversity of Water and Rust provided strokes of nostalgia and introspection to think of where we’re goin’, in terms of where we’ve been. And Melissa reminded us not to crowd the painting with too much stuff, and of the importance of space in our work, our lives, and she also told us that love never fails, never gives up, never runs out on us. Matt Butler’s cello provided layers of harmony and resonance.
Harris III vividly illustrated the power of magic in our lives, and I can’t help but wonder at the parallels of his crazy flying table and the essence of this post.
Essential Worship pulled out the big brushes and provided wide layers of color and hue with Tim Timmons’ unique voice and his lyric to cast our cares on Him. Portland, Oregon rock group The Neverclaim sang to us as if we were 50,000 strong. Lead singer Jeremiah’s vivid telling of his story and life, of contemplating suicide, gave the “who gives a $#*!” layer new depth and meaning, while the band together provided much needed tints of carpe diem. Matt Maher thoughtfully closed the evening singing over us the very words Audrey had begun the day with twelve hours previous. Eerie?
Andy Crouch began to paint the final (or should I say beginning?) touches of our masterpiece with the circle of fifths and harmonics of Bach’s Well Tempered Clavier, pointing to the layers of a spiritual circle of fifths: creation > incarnation > contemplation > power > suffering > new creation. “Real innovation requires risk, which requires trust,” says Crouch. “And trust,” he adds, “doesn’t happen without love. The most influential six words ever uttered could be, we either contemplate or we exploit.”
After the weighty challenges of the morning, DJPaullyRock provided much needed emotional release with joyful soundtracks, luminous glow sticks, and digital wizardry. We talked technology, Phil Madeira’s new book, “God on the Rocks” and Jon Nuefeld and Food for the Hungry provided a moving invitation to add depth to the artwork of our lives by giving to those in need.
Every masterpiece needs a finishing stroke of genius, and legendary producer Phil Madeira provided it with “pure musical honey.” Phil’s challenging lyrics reiterated “There is a fine line between carpe diem and who gives a $#*! ” and the sheer musical virtuosity of the band, Byron House (Robert Plant), Bryan Owings (Emmy Lou Harris), Steve Hindalong (The Choir), and David Mansfield (Bob Dylan), joined by singer Amy Stroup (Sugar and the HiLows), was magic, pure and simple.
The masterpiece of art called #recreate13 was painted by the gathering and collaboration of a tribe of artists. Creatives.
If Aquinas were here today, he would celebrate this magnum opus.
Because, my friends, claritas is the quidditas of re:create.