Energy, Imagination, Intelligence and Love

June 30, 2022 by Rebecca Mallozzi

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. -Genesis 1:1

When we take on an ordained position in the church, we take a vow to “pray for and seek to serve the people with energy, intelligence, imagination, and love.” I must confess as summer approaches, I find myself still full of love and (most days) capable of intelligence. It’s my energy and imagination I find need more attention.

Knowing this, I made a decision this summer to take what I’m calling “a sabbatical for the creative.” My goal is to watch things, read things, listen to things, and experience things that both teach me about and experience creativity.

For some reason, I was hoping this journey would be inspiring; I don’t know why I didn’t expect it to be fun, but I am actually having fun with it. I attended a virtual workshop on maintaining your creative spark with quilter and fabric designer Anna Maria Horner, who suggested maintaining your creative spark by making sure to do creative things that have absolutely nothing to do with your source of income. Then I went to a free art talk at my local library with a performance artist who worked on a painting of Eartha Kitt as Cat Woman while we watched in awe. He said there’s no such thing as a creative rut; it just means we aren’t challenging ourselves enough.

I thought about those two pieces of advice and how they work in tandem: do things that have everything to do with creativity and nothing to do with work and seek experiences that challenge you. They aren’t the perfect subscription for maintaining a creative spark and replenishing our imagination and energy, but they are a good start (and really, is anything perfect?). I want to take more time to notice things and actually feel playful. When was the last time you felt playful? What helps you feel playful?

Imagination is holy. The bible gives us all kinds of images of God as a creative God. God creates the world in word (let there be light) and in deed (God reached down and created woman with a rib from man). God is described as a potter at a wheel, working and reworking the clay (Isaiah 64:8). When giving people law wasn’t enough, God imaginatively came up with a new way to reach us by putting flesh on the Word. Our engagement in creativity is another way of knowing God better.

Makoto Fujimura thinks so. In his book Art and Faith, he talks about imagination as both a pathway to the holy and the holy at play. Creativity is how we can interact with the holy. He writes, “Our creative intuition, fused with the work of the Spirit of God, can become the deepest seat of knowledge, out of which a theology of New Creation can flow.”

I love that. I love the reminder of why imagination is a part of our ministry vows. I encourage you to take some space in the coming months to imagine. Find things that help you express your creativity and stretch your imagination muscles. Find things that have nothing to do with your source of income. Try something you’ve never tried before. And may God bless you with rest and restoration so you can continue to serve with energy, intelligence, imagination, and love.

Rev. Rebecca (Becki) Mallozzi serves as pastor at Faith Church in Emmaus, Pa. She graduated from Waynesburg College (Pennsylvania) with her Bachelor of Arts in English and Communication and worked as a newspaper reporter before starting seminary. She graduated with her Masters of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary.