I’m a bit of a church notice sheet cynic. I don’t really expect people below the age of 70 to read them. I certainly don’t expect anyone below the age of 40 to respond to them.
They do serve two very useful purposes though. Firstly, the church pedant can enjoy pointing out to the pastor the mistakes that have been made each week. To be fair we lack this character at our church (no need to apply for the post!). Secondly, they are extremely useful for occupying 5 year olds before the service starts on a Sunday. It’s not that they read them. They draw on them.
Last Sunday was treasure maps. Armed with a biro and at least 3 notice sheets (printed at great expense to the church in colour on special paper), he proceeded to draw intensely what looked to the untrained eye as a set of random scribbles, but was in fact, to those who knew better, a detailed cartographic study of some of the more obscure islands of Polynesia.
I say draw, maybe etch would be a better description. And I say on the notice sheet, maybe through the notice sheet and onto the chair below would be more accurate. When making maps that will guide you to priceless riches you have to ensure that they won’t be easily rubbed out or lost!
What struck me was how divine his scribbling was. He was creating just for the sake of it. Because it brought him joy. It was an outpouring of the creative imagination within him. It is the same if you arm any small child with a biro/pen/pencil/crayon/lipstick/gluestick/permanent marker/paint brush/toliet brush, they will draw on whatever you give them, or if you’re not around the wall/floor/car/bed/grandparent/baby. They do this because they are created in God’s image.
We’ve been studying Genesis 1-2 in church quite a bit at the moment and I’ve been struck by the enormous creativity of God. The extravagant way he creates. Filling the sky and waters and land with an ebullience of living things.
“So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.” (Genesis 1:21)
God creates simply out of the joy of creating. He creates because he is creative. Yes he does it for his glory. Yes he does it as part of his great plan of salvation. Yes he does it out of his love. But the world he creates speaks of a God who loves to make beautiful things. Who splashes unnecessary colour around the place just for the fun of it.
That’s why scribbling is divine. It is God like to create simply for the joy of creating.
And just like God gives his creation to the first people to enjoy and look after, so my five year old son held out his scribbles and said, “It’s a treasure map. It’s for you daddy.”
So the next time you find black lines scrawled all across you’re newly painted feature wall why not think to yourself: “Ahhh the beauty of divine creativity!” Then go and find the budding Banksy and tell them never to draw on walls again!