This past weekend I had the privilege and honour of leading a “Discovering God through creativity and stories” intergenerational (9 and up) retreat at my husband’s church. It was wonderful to see how music, creativity, and stories can bring people together.
I started the retreat by giving the adults permission to play. This was important because adults have this sense that they aren’t allowed to play anymore. Yet, Peter Berger in Rumours of Angels states, “When play is at its best, something of the presence of God breaks into our lives and redemptive powers are experienced.” I also shared with them a quote from C. S. Lewis. In Surprised by Joy Lewis says, “…play at its best can lift us out of time and space and place us in a rapturous state in which we taste something of the eternal.”
Our story was a Godly Play rendition of the mustard seed. It was delightful to see how enthralled they were when they were invited into the new experience. There is something beautiful about being a part of a story, experiencing the story in an intimate way. When we experience a story from our heart, it becomes a part of our very being in a beautiful way.
We had the pleasure of uplifting music from my son’s university chapel choir, a contemporary piece, a breathtaking Syrian orthodoxy chant of Psalm 135, and a meditative Gregorian chant. Interspersed through these lovely pieces of music we looked at and coloured icons, stain glassed pictures, and we played with the idea of how God views us. We ended our retreat with two graffiti walls where we explored what worship means to us and Christ’s question to all of us: Who do you say that I am.
It was inspiring to watch everyone relax to the point where many of them didn’t want to stop colouring! It’s common knowledge that music and art affect our moods, emotions, and creativity, but they are also a means of prayer and connecting with the Divine. Perhaps you are familiar with the famous quote from St. Augustine: he who sings prays twice.
On Saturday we discovered that creativity, music, and stories are good for our souls. Creativity, music, and stories will refresh your spirit if you are open to allowing them.
Our God is a creative God, look in the mirror. You are a beautiful creation!
And it’s with this creative energy I move into my writing this week; with an open heart and mind to exploring the world I have built. I look forward to seeing where my characters take me this week!
Pictures by Trina