If anyone knew Jhan, they would have known him to be a creative man. He and I used to give ourselves to writing projects. We would choose a topic and try our hand at writing some flyer or pamphlet which would take topics secular and move them to topics sacred. We rarely succeeded in our collaboration, but we gave it a go regularly. And the creative juices flowed.
One day Jhan and our friend Baruch Goldstein and I were doing this creative writing project and Goldstein said, "If this missionary thing doesn't work out, we can always move to Madison Avenue." Advertising was what we were doing, but I'm glad we stayed advertising in the missionary world.
Jhan was part of the New Jerusalem Players back in the early days of the 1970s. That drama team traveled the US (see this shot from Kansas where I was living in 1975: NJP 1975 and made scenes that depicted biblical truths. His most famous was the "Moses" skit where the exaggeration of the lisp of Moses continues to make me smile to this day. His creativity showed then, and to the end.
This photo of the railroad station in Hicksville, Long Island, New York, reminded me of Jhan. Some of you will see the movie project (about 30 minutes long, from about 1984 entitled "Still not ashamed") where Jhan opens the project with himself overlooking Chicago, Illinois, and proclaiming that "to you the city might look like a lot of glass and concrete, but it's really people, millions of people..." (To see this part, visit the YouTube here: Memorial video
This photo which I shot in 2006 says the same thing. And it says even more. And that's why I'm (also) thinking of Jhan in it. The photo says train traffic and millions of commuters in and around New York City. The photos says that man is creative in building projects and maneuvering his way in and around the abundance of traffic problems that characterize NYC, even if he has to build a pathway above ground to do so.
But the photo was shot early in the morning that summer day, July 2006. I saw behind the human building project another building project. I saw the Creator painting an awesome sunrise for me and for the millions who awoke that early. And God's creativity is behind a lot of human scenes. Maybe that's what I appreciate about so many who are creative themselves.
I see design in art and in drama, in dance and in poetry. I see God's hand leading my son in his hiphop dance moves and in my daughter's choice of ingredients when she makes a wonderfully impressive dinner.
Behind the scenes of human history is the God whose story we continue to tell. Sometimes we use drama as in 'Moses'; sometimes we use poetry and song, but all the while our being creative is a reflection of something and Someone far greater. We were, after all, created in His image.
If God is Creator and if He is by nature creative, then it makes sense to me that we should be creative as well.
Jhan knew His Creator.
Jhan reflected His Creator.
And now together they are making advertisements and dramatic pieces that will be even better because Jhan went home last week.
Shalom, my friend.
Hicksville Long Island and the Long Island Rail Road are not what you would ordinarily think of in a 'nature' section. But the Creator makes His paintings seen... no matter what else is in the photo.