God is Living Artist Ever Creating Us, Living Artistry of God

4 comments Written on August 25th, 2015     
Filed under: Testimonies and Stories
Mary PRev Mary Putera is currently serving as the Pastor of Sunset Covenant Church in Oregon. Rev. Putera is also working on her doctorate with the European Graduate School.

To “offer oneself”, to bring and give freely of who one is, in a foreign context, amidst the complex circumstances of recent systemic trauma, ongoing societal struggles and the emerging qualities of resilience, is to give in to God’s call to be vulnerable. I am going, and I struggle with going. I struggle to settle into vulnerability. Make no mistake, going is a constant wrestling for me, until my feet pass through security, and then surrender is the only option.

In 3 weeks I will return to Nepal as a trainer and teacher of Expressive Art Therapy and Community Art Practice. As a pastor, part of my call is to bring word of God reaching out to the world. God reaches out to the world as the Living Artist, reminding us all of the inherent beauty residing in each of us as “imago Dei”. As theologian Garcia-Rivera points out, the Greek word for “beauty” has two forms; hallos (noun) which means to call, and Kalon (adj) which means “the called” (1999) Garcia-Rivera expands this definition writing; “Theological aesthetics attempts to make clear once again the connection between Beauty and the beautiful, between Beauty’s divine origins and its appropriation by the human heart”(1999).

To submit to this truth, is to learn to rest in the vulnerability of being subject to God’s forming hand in me and through me.

As a volunteer serving in a foreign country, I am linguistically incompetent, way-finding challenged, and utterly in need of a cultural mentor to translate for me the mores and folkways abounding in the midst of every interaction. Whatever expertise I have been invited to share, is in need of major reconstruction, on the fly, in the midst of a new and challenging, culturally different circumstance. I need help!

nepalI am not alone.

The people in Nepal who have extended invitation also are vulnerable. Something is happening amidst the people which requires support from others to fully emerge. Sadhana Thapa and Reeta Bomjan the founders of Expressive Arts Nepal, have identified the emerging presence and gift of Expressive Art and Community Art in their country as pathways and practices that are life giving to Nepali people. I do not go to introduce Expressive Art and Community Art practice as if it is something completely new to the people of Nepal. I go to bring culturally meaningful experiences of engaging creatively with the circumstances and conditions of life people in Nepal are enduring and moving through. I bring these experiences as opportunities for re-enlivening what is already in the hearts of humanity.

This is the very essence for me of being “imago DEI” formed in the image, the active ability of being a living witness to who God is. God is Living Artist ever creating us to be living artistry of God. Going to Nepal, is like standing on Mount Everest and saying God I am in great need and vulnerable to your hand of grace, mercy and artistry. God help me. It is also to sit before the Lord in prayer for the Nepali people. How I pray that God would move with the lovely wind of the Holy Spirit, enlivening the people in Nepal through art making. As a pastor, this is the vulnerability of Worship as I comprehend it thus far. I will surrender more deeply into it, in three weeks, with the help of God. The wrestling will stop, I will get on the plane, and the work of God will begin.

Amen Amen, please pray it is so.


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4 comments “God is Living Artist Ever Creating Us, Living Artistry of God”

Wow! Thank you, Mary, for sharing yourself, your heart. God bless you in your vulnerable going.

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Thank you Sali… thank you

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Mary – so true for all of us – this tension to go when God tells us it is time to move. And as you say, when we are obedient to going, we get to witness the artistry of God in our lives and to the community to which the Lord sends us. Thank you for going, for sharing your voice and for the witness you are to the amazing work of God wherever you are sent. Just beautiful, my sister!

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One of the greatest places of God’s artistry I know is our friendship and collegial support and care for one another Catherine.  God continue to bless you with miracles in your everyday!

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