Chaos & creativity

The creation stories in the book of Genesis seemingly describe life being formed out of a nothing (imagine what nothing is not!?) The scientific parallel points to the Big Bang theory where chaos (and creativity) is propelled from a

“The photograph of the barbed wire was taken in Oxfordshire by the Thames on a morning when there was a marvellous Hoare Frost in January 2010. It reminds me that something as vicious as barbed wire can be transformed into something beautiful through an act of God – how much more then might I be transformed?” (Photo and reflection by Kate Evans).

single point of time-space. When we talk about creation and creativity, whether that is from the hand of God (divini-cure!) or human (manicure), chaos is closely associated. Chaos comes from the Greek meaning ‘chasm’ or ‘gap.’ Some of the ancients thought that there was a formless void before the cosmos was created. This chaos was then put into good effect, creating the perfect eco-system that we currently enjoy.

Our own creative pursuits do not come out of nothing but out of a type of chaos. We are distanced from the intended product of our desire, there is a chasm or gap between the raw material and the finished product. Think of our gardening pursuits – we might have the soil and the plants and rockery etc but we need to be able to reduce the chaotic gap, we need to manicure. The making of music will need to be tried and tested through a process that will sound, at times, like a cacophony before something more beautiful arrives. Wherever our creative juices take us, we need raw material and something like chaos before we can make and create be it with clay, soil, timber, words, sound… We, humans, are wonderfully creative given the resources, time and commitment.

“Whenever nature splashes us with colour it declares aloud the manifold splendour of the Lord.” (Photo and reflection by Rob Cowper).

I am preparing for this Sunday in which St Michael & All Angels, Summertown is devoting the 10am Eucharist to matters of creation, namely climate justice, a sustainable ecology, a greener footprint, a keener responsibility for God’s gift of this known world. I cannot think of a more compelling time or reason to promote these green issues. We will reflect on the theological imperatives for greening the earth; why Christians should care and how we might take seriously the request to steward God’s creation. We are hoping to welcome a bumper crop of folk who are interested to learn more about the part that we play in creation. I understand that in such an invitation lies a chasm, a gaping gap between people. However, a social justice cause which affects the lives of every human being of this and future generations, may well narrow the differences which we may hold. So, I conclude with this invitation which we sometimes use at St Michael & All Angels in the hope that you might join us?

So, come, you who have much faith and you who have little,
you who have been here often and you who have not been for a long time,
you who have tried to follow and you who have failed.
Come, not because I invite you: it is God, and it is God’s will
that you who want God should meet God here.

“At sunrise, in the quiet of the early dawn, I walk by the riverside and witness the glory of light after dark, in glorious shades of yellows, orange, pinks and reds. I catch my breath at the beauty. I am daily inspired by creation and I thank God for all these wonders as I am filled with peace.” (Photo and reflection by Anne Shaw)








Author: Gavin Knight

The Revd Gavin Knight has been the Vicar of St Michael & All Angels, Summertown in the Oxford Diocese since September 2011. After serving his title at St Alphege, Solihull, Gavin became parish priest of St Andrew's Fulham Fields in London. He moved to Wales in 2005 becoming Chaplain to Monmouth School. He is married to Jo, a clinical psychologist, and they have three sons.