“…then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.” Genesis 2:7 ESV
There is nothing as satisfying to me than the creating of my own hands.
I replaced my mailbox the other day and felt elated. All my measurements and cuts were right the first time. Bring it on, mailman.
I recently played Rush’s “Red Barchetta” on my bass nearly all the way through. On my couch. I felt ready to take my show on the road.
With critically important help and input from Kristi, I made some Maine-style Lobster Rolls (yes I capitalized Lobster Rolls, because of respect and because of delicious) a few months back, and sent myself moaning in ecstasy on the floor.
I drew a picture of an animal from memory for one of my daughters, and felt exhilarated by it taking shape in front of me. I sensed a desire to keep going. To keep drawing, faster and faster, as though speed would bring it to life.
I had an idea and wrote a short story recently all in one setting. Beginning to end, in two hours. I could levitate afterward.
I made an ad hoc spaceship (qualifying me, as I've recently learned, for Master Builder) with my son, feeling pretty good about it. When his jaw dropped, I felt even better about it.
There’s nothing like making to me. And the only thing that can come along side it is sharing what I’ve made, whether out of ego or charity or mutuality, with others.
I’m sure the sweater-wearing psychoanalysts have interesting and even compelling explanations for all this. Validation hunting. Control out of chaos. Sense of accomplishment against the deeper sense of disappointment. Blobbity blah blah.
When God forms Adam, the word form is translated from the hebrew “yatsar”. In one sense it means to narrow or squeeze. To squish. Which leads to the broader meaning; yatsar describes what potters do when they are making earthen vessels, pots or bowls, or even statues. Add to this “Adam” literally means soil, and the verse is pretty vivid. Adam, who might as well be named Clay, (Claude? Phil? I could keep going) is formed by an Artist. He is made as something between a piece of art and a vessel to fulfill a duty, and is breathed into living.
This isn’t just clever etymology. It’s a good reminder: humans are historically humus, which should keep us humble.
Millennia after this text was written in Genesis, the apostle Paul would say to his brothers and sisters about their new faith and realized identity in the Christ:
“…we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10
Workmanship, translated from the Greek “poiema”, carries with it the sense of more than just construction. It's something between a piece of art and a vessel to fulfill a duty. A living, breathing statue of what God is like: the source of life, and of goodness.
Be reminded today that you are far more than an assortment of instincts looking for a meal and a mate.
You aren’t a pointless amalgam of materials having cruelly developed the ability to wonder about purpose and meaning that were never there.
You are not accidental.
You are not incidental.
You are not at your core loathed by God, or simply tolerated because of some deal Jesus made with his mean but almighty daddy.
You are art.
Art that can observe herself and her world and move beautifully in it.
On behalf of its Creator.
You are art that can see his life as integrated with the rest of creation and yet mysteriously disparate from it, being humble and yet confident by his own sense of belonging to both Maker and made.
You are art that does good and loving sorts of things- never an animal subjected to its own selfishness to do selfish things.
May the Potter reshape you today, breathe into your nostrils the breath of life, and lead you to walk in the good works you were crafted in the Christ to walk in.