Ex nihilo is a latin phrase that means to create something out of nothing. Jews and Christians use this idea to describe what God did when creating life in the beginning. The creators of STOMP, Luke Cresswell and Steve McNichols could have used almost the same phrase in describing their phenomenal stage show. They create life out of almost nothing. And it is a blast to see.
In one scene in the middle of the rhythm and dance show three performers sit below several 50 gallon drums with a large trash bag in front of them. They turn it into a contest over who can turn trash into a fun, precise percussion instrument. Soon all three are bopping, thrumming, and crumpling air-filled plastic bags, empty cups–with a lid and a straw, and a ball of wadded-up paper that had us almost dancing with the unique music. In the opening number the cast grabs brooms and sweeps and shuffles their boots across the stage to create the expectation that almost anything can produce a life-giving beat.
And we did come to life. We were held rhythm-bound, laughing, moving, and clapping for an hour and a half uninterrupted while they jumped, thumped, danced, clowned and beat a rhythm on anything: kitchen sinks, tubing, trash cans, themselves, each other, the stage, cigarette lighters–anything. Someone told me later that there was a violent thunder storm outside. We heard nothing.
STOMP didn’t only entertain; it made me wonder.
I watched the cast throwing brooms and rattling trash-can lids–while I unconsciously shufflled my feet, smiling, and remembering my days as a janitor at my high school. Several friends worked with me and we agreed to clean our individual floors quickly and then meet in the auditorium to clean the huge room together. It always ended up, however, that we gathered on the stage performing impromptu music with brooms, harmonicas, voices, anything we could find. Proving music and creativity will flow through any open channel. Even me.
Whence does this human creativity we humans so well express come? It does not and cannot come ex nihilo. It comes from the Being Who created us, ex nihilo. But that is not technically correct. God created us out of himself. C. S. Lewis, in The Magician’s Nephew, imagines Aslan singing Narnia into being. With every note dropping from the lion’s mouth something new and beautiful springs from the earth: trees, flowers, animals, humans. Life!
This is why we can create out of almost nothing. We were created creative. Even you.
You doubt? That’s the other thing I learned at STOMP. Remember the musical trash I mentioned above? How often do we consider ourselves little better than trash? Of little value? Sad but true. Many of us believe such trash. But it is not so. Not only does God not create trash but, just like the creative STOMP performers, God can take anything and squeeze beauty and life out of what many might throw away. Even me. Even you.
I was thoroughly entertained by STOMP. In the old sense of the word. Not only did the show give me pleasure but it made me entertain, open myself to, a new thought. If Cresswell and McNichols can take a love for drumming on dashboards and buckets and create so much life and fun with it, imagine what God can create out of us.
Ex Nihilo: God and STOMP Create Life Out of Nothing
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0 thoughts on “Ex Nihilo: God and STOMP Create Life Out of Nothing”
I’m a believer! Maybe the concept of “nothing” was used to get our eyes off the material aspect of things, and to get our larger-seeing “eyes” to focus on something else,…
Their video is a great demo of “energy”! Energy can be described and (incredibly!) measured by physics and mathematical formulas, but it is also “so much more” than the — (to some boring, to some exciting) — quantifiable substance of physics books! Life itself really is energy,… as is love,… faith,… spirit,… music,… dancing (movement),… seeing (light),… hearing (sound),… warmth (heat),… feeling (sensation),… cat purrs (*a timely memorial “hat tip” to beloved Sweet Carl the Cat*, who just recently lost a battle to vicious and heartless, wild coyotes in Texas),… birdsong,… sunshine,… and even the brutal and “twisted” versions (negative spins, perversions and distortions) offered by satan,… in doubt, hate, envy, murderous rage, and so on,…
It is God’s original versions of His (Good!) Life Energy indwelling us, that Christ came to restore to us, lest we remain poor orphans tormented “in darkness” by satan’s lying and perverted moods, which have shrouded and influenced the earth, and mankind from the time of the Fall,…
It is the good energy in our hearts, and the “Fruit of the Spirit” (Gal 5), that are uppermost on God’s agenda for the spiritual Salvation of mankind, (in conjunction with the transformation of our blinded and self-serving wills). But in God’s vast amazing-ness, not only our feelings, motives and emotions, but also intelligence, awareness, and even those physics calculations (avoided by so many), will also all “add up” together to demonstrate and “prove” what a marvelous and orderly, but also spontaneous and surprising, intelligent and powerful Creator we have,… Who has indeed “done all things well” in designing and bringing forth the grand Universe in which we dwell,…
22 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”
8 “But as for me, I would seek God,
And to God I would commit my cause—
9 “Who does great things, and unsearchable,
Marvelous things without number.
10 “He gives rain on the earth,
And sends waters on the fields.”
5 “God thunders marvelously with His voice;
He does great things which we cannot comprehend.
6 “For He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth’;
Likewise to the gentle rain and the heavy rain of His strength.”
Joel 2:21 “Fear not, O land; Be glad and rejoice, For the LORD has done marvelous things!”
Hebrews 11:1,3 [By Faith We Understand]
1 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. …
3 “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.”
Psalm 139:14 “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.”
Mark 7:37 “And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, ‘He has done all things well. He makes both the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.’”
1 Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;”
Einstein: “E = mc2” iow: [Energy = mass (times) the speed of light, squared]
Undoubtibly, Georgie-Ann. Love is energy and power. The energy and power of God.
LOVE Stomp! It’s so inspiring to see how creativity is manifested in different forms. And like you said . . . it lies in all of us. Great post.
Beth: Thanks and your last blog was fantastic too.