Creativity: the ability to create. The definition is concise but it uses a form of the word to define the word. That isn’t very creative!
The worship service at St. Mark’s UMC on Sept. 25 was one of the most creative services I have ever attended. The date was special for me because my mother would have turned 97 on that day if she had not passed away last year, so perhaps I was more open to new experiences than I normally would have been. I don’t really think that was all, however, because I heard many others express their excitement following the service. The Lord was truly in our space.
The youth had approached the Lead Pastor, Rev. Lynn Bartlow, about having an opportunity to “preach” about Minecraft. She was open to the idea. Minecraft is a computer game that I have never played. The game can be played alone, with a group of friends, or even with a group of strangers. There are no set rules. You just create your own world or town or house or church or whatever with rules you determine. The youth of St. Mark’s took over most of the parts of the service. They ushered, were acolytes, acted as liturgists, and provided the children’s time. They choose the scripture: Genesis 1:1-2:3, the first story of God creating the earth. As the scripture was read, the youth walked across the front of the sanctuary holding signs to help the congregation keep track of the day. The altar was planned and decorated by the youth. One youth had made the decision to be baptized and asked that he be baptized during the youth service using pouring (one of the 3 ways that can be chosen as the method of baptism). I had never seen this method of baptism used and it was a beautiful experience. Many of the youth joined him and his Grandmother and sister at the front as additional members of his family. At every baptism, the congregation takes a vow to love and care for the person being baptized. The congregation will remember this baptism and the young man who is now a part of our church family.
This service was truly creative. The congregation agreed, applauding as each part of the service concluded. In addition to the youth, the Sunday School children (up through 5th grade) sang and signed Jesus Loves Me and a couple of other songs. When they sang Hallelu, hallelu, they included the congregation in the standing and sitting that accompanies the song. It was a good exercise for all. They also were applauded.
A good service requires good planning. I honor the adults who were behind the scenes making sure everything flowed. The Chancel choir sang and the organ provided music, so, in addition to the special parts of the service that the youth provided, there were the familiar parts that keep us grounded as we attend service each week. That too is a sign of creativity – the ability to adapt and bring in something different without taking away the familiar and comfortable normal!
Pastor Lynn said: “The youth are not the future. They are the church today and tomorrow”. I agree. Thanks be to God.