Creating with the Spirit

May 31, 2024 by Julian Davis Reid

God is the One who keeps creating — new life from wombs, new hope for the hopeless, new nations from the dispossessed, a new creation through Jesus. This is the story of God in Scripture, and this is the story of God with us now. Our creativity flows from our life with God and forms our life with God. When we use spiritual disciplines to draw close to God, we unlock that creative flow the Holy Spirit has for all creation. Spiritual practices — music, rest, contemplative reading, and prayer — create conditions for greater connection with God, inviting our creativity to emerge for the sake of our groaning world.

My professional vocation as an artist-theologian testifies to the creativity flowing from life with God. During the pandemic, I agonized over how to integrate my love for the theological academy, music industry, and local church. I sensed the Holy Spirit’s prompting to braid the three vocations, but I could not envision how. This quandary, along with COVID, forced me to draw closer to God and to pray ceaselessly. I cried out over tear-stained journal pages for God to help my creativity flow, and I leaned mightily on spiritual companions to help me see a way forward. I tenderly asked: Lord, what are you molding me into? My spiritual practices and posture led to co-creating with God my ministry around rest, spirituality, and Black music called Notes of Rest.

Life with God leads to creativity, and practicing creativity shapes our life with God. As we create, we learn more about how to relate to ourselves and to others, which informs our relationship with God. For instance, my career as a musician has made me more compassionate toward myself and my neighbor. As a pianist, performer, and composer, I have become a better listener to those who come to my shows and workshops seeking care, entertainment, or hope. Becoming a father — my deepest creative act — has changed my spiritual life immeasurably. In all its forms, my creativity shapes my sense of holy relating — to God, neighbor, and self. How might this be true for you too?

As you attend to the interaction of your life with God and your creative life, may you listen for the Spirit’s inner promptings so that you can take stock of what God is bringing forth into the world through and with you.

Julian Davis Reid is an artist-theologian, musician, writer, and speaker. He will be among the faculty at The Academy for Spiritual Formation’s first hybrid offering, Spirituality in Practice, leading participants in an exploration of Spirituality and Creativity. Learn more at

Journal Prompts

How has your creativity been influenced by your relationship with God?

What new possibilities might God be inviting you to explore through creativity?

How do you listen for the Spirit’s inner promptings in your creative process?

How can you use your creative gifts to serve your community?

Share your responses with others in the comments below!

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