|Witold Wojtkiewicz, Meditations Ash Wednesday|
Creative thinking isn't the ability to make a painting, sing a song, or write a play. It's the ability to find a solution to a problem in an unexpected place. The appreciation of beauty--regardless of the context--is an important component of creative thinking. We see it in nature, hear it in music, but there is also beauty in math and the well-turned phrase. I remember being very young and knowing God as a very beautiful thought. That beauty is expressed in our churches through the liturgy of worship.
With Ash Wednesday behind us, we've entered a new liturgical season. The solemnity and quietness of Lent makes Easter all the more exciting. John Kebble's poem expresses the journey through the season:
...let us keep our fast within / Till Heaven and we are quite alone...The liturgical calendar provides a rhythm to life and has served as rhythm to creativity as well. The cycle of the Stations of the Cross has as rich a visual history as it does liturgical. The Mysteries of the Rosary provide is another. One of the best example of this series can be seen in the Sint-Pauluskerk in Antwerp. It features Rubens' Flagellation and Van Dyk's Bearing the Cross, among many other paintings. The scale and drama of the work draw in the viewer and encourage a level participation that words often fail to invoke. In terms of dramatic beauty, it's hard to out-do Rubens. But there are two paintings by Velazquez, made in competition to two works by Rubens. But Rubens' flair for the dramatic is hammy in a single figure. The Spaniard's storytellers however, Aesop and Menippus are quietly and stately beautiful in the way a single figure should be. It's this contemplative beauty that Lent brings to the liturgical calendar.