Today I Saw God

The Message Our Body Brings to Life

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Does it surprise you to look at these two photos, side by side?

The one on the left is among the tiniest of miracles, a cell in the brain. The one on the right is perhaps the grandest of miracles, the universe. Their similarity is striking.It's all a matter of scale and perspective. One wonders if they aren't both the work of the same hand.

Why waste a perfectly good idea, right? As my friend Mary Lou puts it, "God is the ultimate economist and consummate recycler." When we have the ability to look with appropriate perspective, we may see the signature of the designer.

But I wonder if the similarity isn't just in appearance. Often the structure of a thing gives us clues to its function. Perhaps our growing understanding of the operation of the brain cell may shed light on interactions across our universe. Could what's in us help explain what's outside us and help us manage what's between us?

Is it so far-fetched to think that the God of the universe has intentionally planted the answers to our deepestquestions inside us? Is He patiently waiting for us to find them? I, as a student of the human body, find myself both dumb-founded to consider this and excited to think it might be so. Are God's answers hiding in plain view, waiting to be acknowledged?

Certainly the beginning of new life begs us to consider God's hand in itsmidst. Can there be anything more miraculous? Is there any more convincing witness to the hand of a Divine Creator?

Biblical writers certainly had this same awe, even though they had no ultrasound images to confirm their suspicions:

For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,

intricately woven in the depths of the earth. ~ Psalm 139: 13-15

But let's not stop at the miracle of the development of one body. All of us, the Church Universal, are being formed into the body of Christ.

From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. ~ Ephesians 4:16

If we were designed to be joined and held together and thus to grow in love as we work together, our world today suggests we are far from God's design. Yet, ifGod intends it, surely He has not made this an unsolvable puzzle. Perhaps the model for us as the Body of Christis suggested in the workings of our own individual bodies.

Allow me, if you would, a moment of speculation as I put on my hat as physiologist. Science demonstrates that the human body is so much more than its anatomy more thanthe skin we can see, the muscle we can bulge, the pulse we can touch, and the breath we can take in. Underneath all of these functions are the delicate and highly regulated interactionswhich make them work: organs and organ systems made up of tissues and cells all contributing what's necessary for life.

The key tohealthy life in the human body: cooperation among systems toco-exist while competing for a fixed supply of resources. Their successfulinterdependence is guided by a simple and familiar principle: to each according to its need. This delicate balance is maintained in response to the demands of life.Survival of the fittest is nonsense within the body because each part is necessary for the survival of the whole body.

No two systems in the human body are alike. Each is specialized for an essential task; none "considers" itself above the rest. How could it? What good would the heart be without blood to circulate? What good wouldthe muscles do without limbs to move? What good is our breath if it can't deliver what it inhales and exhales? What good is our skeleton without ligaments to allow it to stand? What good is a brain without means to connect and communicate? What good is sight without vision or sound without hearing?

Is this an echo of the message in First Corinthians?

If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be?But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. ~1 Cor 12:17-20

Could our bodies hold God's message for our world?

They demonstrate so beautifully and seamlessly the choreography of interdependent partsnegotiating life, giving and responding obediently for the good of the whole.There is no greater and no lesser, no greed and no hoarding, no scarcity and no hunger. The better the parts work together, the more abundant is the life.

Who in the world could have ever thought of that?

If we are to believe that our God is the ultimate economist and consummate recycler who loves all He created, then God wastes not one bit. Each part is necessary and intended for the good of the whole. Each one is essential to the life of the body. Each interaction effects all others. Unique, for sure. Different, for certain. Interdependent, completely. No exceptions.

It is the genius of perfect living balance:I take only what I need, so you will have what you need. Our ultimate survival may depend on it. So simple that anybody can showyou.

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The Spark of Creation

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Creativity – the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, or the like and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations; originality, progressiveness, imagination.

My eldest daughter and I had the privilege several years ago of being in the cast of an original musical. The story and the music of the musical were written entirely by my friends, Don and Zoe. This particular story, the melodies and the lyrics were not present in our world prior to Don and Zoe deciding to bring them into existence. Something within them decided that, in a world full of songs and stories, something new was neededsomething different, something beautiful. Something we didn't know we were missing until we experienced it. As actors, singers, artists and musicians, we then became part of the creative process by adding our own touch to the story, a collective work of creation that further touched the lives of both the participants and the members of the audience.

Multiply our experience by every song you hear, every play you watch, every book you read, every piece of artwork you enjoy. What causes someone to decide the world isn't enough with just the status quo? Why do we build a more beautiful building, sing a different song, paint another painting? What inspires us to dig deep within ourselves and expose ourselves to criticism and judgment by offering up our creations to public scrutiny?

Although creativity is often associated with more traditional forms of "art" such as theatre, music and painting, looking back over the life of Apple founder Steve Jobs reminds us that creativity occurs anytime we allow ourselves to think outside the confines of that which already exists. Mr. Jobs, in his short life, created products that we didn't know we needed and now are quite sure we can't live without. He didn't allow failure to stop him from imagining something new, something better or something different. I don't know whether he was a man of faith, but it seems to me that he lived his life with an understanding that being in touch with his creativity meant making a difference in the world. I love these words from his address to Stanford students in 2005:

"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary."

Creativity is at the heart of what makes us fully alive. On a spiritual level, creativity is our very connection to our creatorthe life force that makes us most like our Heavenly Father in whose image we were created. As a person of faith, following my "heart and intuition" is directly related to staying connected to the originator of that creative spark within me. Knowing that God made each of us with the ability and the yearning to be creative forces within this world challenges me to pay attention to those opportunities that I am given to step outside of the status quo and do something different, even when it feels risky. Creating something and offering it to the world is an act of vulnerability. The question vulnerability asks of us is this: "What is worth doing even if you fail?"

"The Artist's Way" author Julia Cameron says this about the reasons we might take the risk of creativity, "We are ourselves creations. We are meant to continue creativity by being creative ourselves. This is the God-force extending itself through us. Creativity is God's gift to us. Using creativity is our gift back to God."

Embracing my creativity, in whatever form that might take, is an act of worship and an act of bravery.

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