For I am about to create new heavens
and a new earth;
the former things shall not be remembered
or come to mind.
But be glad and rejoice forever
in what I am creating;
This photo above is of such a lovely moment on a pathway at our Botanical Gardens. It would have been so easy and so normal for the person placing these small, river-stones into the concrete to make this pathway – so easy to simply place them along the pathway all facing the same direction. If I were doing it I would wear knee pads and listen to my books on my iPod. I would simply get into the rhythm of the thing and get the job done. I mean this pathway was long. Really long. It must have been such a long and laborious pattern to create on one’s hands and knees all along this winding pathway. Just making it curve and flow would have been such a job!
But the mason who set these stones decided that at one little place along the way it would be nice to curl the stones. It did not mark anything. It did not highlight any aspect of the garden. It was not part of a “swirl-themed-garden” nor was it due to an oddly placed drain pipe or other logistical issue. It was pure creative delight and whimsy.
It is hard for me to be in such a liturgical church as the Episcopal Church. I love the church and its liturgy. But sometimes I wonder what creativity we are missing out on by our rules. When I look at creation I see this amazing creativity from God. There are four thousand different kinds of praying mantis. Some of them are pink and purple. Our God is always doing new things in creation.
In October, when the church gets together for an Art of Hosting cathedral summit on October 11, 2014 we will be making our way through the pathways between chaos and order as an institution. There is a four part continuum which is used in organizational development and The Art of Hosting – a progress or scale one might say. On the left is chamos (this is utter chaos and calamity like in a typhoon) and then the next area to its right is Chaos (this is messy like in a dense forest) and then the next phase is order (this is what it sounds like – the careful placement of all things in clean situ, as in a court of law or hospital) and the final phase to the far right (if you were imagining a spectrum from left to right) is control (this is like what one sees in a prison or concentration camp). The wonderful way of creative an organic community life is to be moving between chaos and order but not inside either one entirely and steering clear of chamos and control entirely. It is this way of being that we will be learning as a community as we move towards the Dream Together Conference next year in October.
This little pathway in the Botanical Gardens is a wonderful moment of creative divergence from order while not really moving too far into chaos. It seems to be how God made the planet – and our lives (at least mine) and so I wonder what it would look like to be stewards of our lives and our life together in the knowledge that God is always doing a new thing?
I think whimsy is a sacrament. At least it is for me.