What will you make today? Mako Fujimura in his commencement address to the 2012 class at Biola asks a question that we may expect of artists. (You can watch the commencement address here .) They, of course, are in the business of creating. However, he was speaking to a students going into many different fields – finance, medicine, teaching, and more. Ultimately his point is not to make everyone into artists, but help them become more conscious of the image of the Creator we carry within us. Are we stepping out as creators, aware of what we are making in this world or are we satisfied with consuming the creations of others?
This is a very different stance than my usual way of starting a project or even waking each morning. Usually I begin by considering everything that I have to do, often driven by outside forces. Sometimes it gets to the point of my barely being able to start the day because it seems so laden with the expectations of others. I feel shackled. I’m not making anything, just continuing along the same rut of getting things done.
Yet, asking the question – what will I make today – does change my perspective. It doesn’t necessarily mean that I will throw off all responsibilities that I have to others. I do have duties to fulfill for those with whom I work, to family, and to a church community. However, if I see myself making something in these relationships instead of just being pushed along, a new sense of freedom emerges. Instead of being frustrated with shopping for yet another meal I have to make for students, I can create a feast around which people will gather and build community. Or, instead of having to plod through the steps of finishing a family estate plan, I can help create a legacy. At times, the end product may look the same, but how I relate to the activity and the people involved are very different.
It is vital to be conscious of what we make each day. Our interactions with others are creating relationships and may give people hope or despair. In the small tasks we do we can see a bunch of scattered work that amounts to nothing or a series of activities that God has put into our lives. As we move into this way of thinking, maybe we start to get rid of unimportant and unnecessary activities or see them anew. We may even take on the latent yearnings deep within us. What will I make today? I will start putting together landscape quilts of pilgrimages. I will work on deepening friendships.
A significant part of this creation comes because we are made in the image of God, the ultimate creator. How does this making relate to God’s creative Word? It’s comforting to know we are not alone in this making or without guidance. Even so, there is a need to be careful in the making. Why are we doing it? Is it constructive – or destructive? How does it relate to the community? How do we see ourselves, as the all mighty creator or as the servant to others? When we are aware of what we are making, we can become aware of how this making effects others.
So, what are you making? A book, a blog post, a journey plan, a new friend, an environment for people to see God, a picture of hope. This question of making helps us find that story that leads us on pilgrimage. What will you make today?