The latest hearsay is that many people no longer believe in Satan, but that is not the discussion I plan to have today. The past few days I’ve been struck with the idea of creating and consuming.
As I seek to create, to make time in my schedule for the act of creating, obstacles spring up. Obstacles spring up so regularly and so often that I’ve concluded it must be a natural law in the universe that creation must have its opposition.
I pondered this awhile. I thought of the national debt and the to and fro, to and fro, of the American culture. The strain to get ahead, so we can what? Buy. Buy. Consume. Consume. That’s the main motive given to high schoolers — “you need to work hard and get good grades so you can get into college and get a good job so you can get all of the things you want.”
Gone are the days of Wright Brothers who figured out the secret of flight for the pleasure of it. Gone are the days of Snowflake Bentley who spent hours and winters in the snow trying to capture a photograph of a snowflake. Gone are the days of the opus, of the masterpiece, of poems written and hidden in the trunk, of the paintings stored in the closet, of the music sung on the porches, of the gatherings and group performances, of the barber-shop quartets, the recitals, the presentations, the dramatic theaters.
I know that not all creators are gone, but the culture of creation is gone. Whether it was to whittle by the fire or to tell stories to pass the time or create special dishes for a potluck, people were part of creative processes all of the time.
Again, I speak of cultures, not of individuals. We have a culture of consuming. For Christmas, we should buy. For birthdays, we should buy. When celebrating, we should buy. It used to mean we should make. If you disagree with this argument, I only have to present the modern day wedding as the ultimate smackdown. Consider the ridicule a bride would receive if everyone wore hand-made gowns and suits and the dinner was a potluck?
Back to Satan. I speak now of his mythological presence in our consciousness. As I said before, his reality is another discussion. In our literature, in our childhood stories, he is the accuser, the liar, the one who devours. One of my favorite classics to read is C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters. As Wormwood loses his grasp on his patient (one of us humans), his Uncle Screwtape turns his attention from hungrily devouring the patient to craving his nephew. He begins to lick his lips in the anticipation of eating his delicate nephew. Devouring is a Satanic passion, a devilish delight.
Creating and consuming. Perhaps if we resurrect some of these “archaic” ideas, we’ll resurrect ourselves. To create is to imitate God. To devour is delve into our darker nature.
So, whether it be to make a meal from scratch, write a poem, direct a Sunday School choir, quote poetry while mending nets on a fishing boat, compose a letter, fix a broken chair, or plant a garden … create something. By doing so, we are in our own way saying, “Let there be light.”
Happy Easter. Christ is Risen.