I spent my weekend at the Breathe Christian Writers Conference—one of my favorite things EVER. I had the immense privilege of writing a blessing and prayer for this community that has given me so much and I just wanted to share it with you in lieu of a blog post today. I think this is something that can bless all creatives out there.
Last year we closed the conference with a statement by James Scott Bell:
“We are the storytellers. We bring the light.”
This year has proven time and time again that we are still called to this. These are dark and divisive times where the light is more desperately needed than ever before.
Each of us was called to this noble task ahead. How do we know we are called? We have been saved. And we are also called to share what we have been graciously given.
To adapt the words of Alvin Plantinga for the sake of us writers:
“We who are Christians and propose to be writers must not rest content with being writers who happen, incidentally to be Christians; we must strive to be Christian writers. We must therefore pursue our projects with integrity, independence, and Christian boldness.”
This is the charge I give to you, writers!
May we continue to encourage one another onward:
To create with integrity—knowing that to create costs, but that we have been called to create nonetheless.
To create with independence—knowing God has given us work that only we can do with the experiences and burdens he has bestowed to each of us.
But most of all to create with Christian boldness—to know that whether we write for an audience of believers or not, or even an audience of one, we have not been given a spirit of timidity, but one of courage.
We go out from this place to tell the truth in our stories, poems, songs, essays, scripts, letters, emails, even our ephemeral social media musings. We go out to invite the world to sit at the feet of our God and listen.
All great liturgies end with a sending, so may I pray with you to send you out?
I thank you for this gathering where we may join together and affirm the gifts and words you have given to us. You have placed each and every person in these seats with great purpose and I thank you for the call you have placed on these lives.
May these souls leave here encouraged, connected to one another and even more deeply connected with you.
As we journey from here, do not let us shy away from the words you have given us to write, but instead let us push past resistance and sit down to our desks, our notepads, our computers and let us write. Let us write with the boldness you have granted each of us. Let us remember that courage follows obedience and not the other way around.
May the fruit of our worship and our writing be that which gathers, unites, and blesses.
Let us be a body that encourages one another when the truth seems too heavy, when the audience seems non-existent, when the deadline looms too quickly, when the enemy shouts too loudly, and when the words seem too few. Let us build one another up, pushing one another toward you—the giver of words, author of our lives and creator of the ultimate story.
We write because you write. We create because you create. We tell because you have saved.
Protect us as we leave this place. Give our words a place to land. Give our hearts a glimpse of home.
We thank you again, Father.
In your name,