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YHWH Project: Illuminating God’s Economy of All Things

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In a remarkable collaborative effort led by Dan Stevers involving 11 Christian animators and artists, the YHWH Project has released its final product: a sweeping and striking short film that paints a beautiful portrait of God’s abundant love and active presence.

Watch it here:

I’m reminded of that powerful bit by Alexander Schmemann: “All that exists is God’s gift to man, and it all exists to make God known to man, to make man’s life communion with God…God blesses everything He creates, and, in biblical language, this means that He makes all creation the sign and means of His presence and wisdom, love and revelation.”

Indeed, YHWH serves as a powerful complement to the core themes of the Acton Institute’s latest film series, For the Life of the World: Letters to the Exiles (which draws its name directly from Schmemann).

When Evan Koons, the host of the series, discovers that all is gift — from God to us to others and so on — he begins to see a divine purpose and participation across the various spheres of creation. From the love of a father and mother to the mundane toil of a field laborer, from the painter’s brush to the professor’s lectern to the halls of Congress, God weaves these areas together in his economy of all things, singing to us of his love through our service to others and the wonder of his creation.

The poem at the center of YHWH highlights God’s love at this same sweeping level, yet while retaining the same intimacy we find in the Spirit. In doing so, it aptly illustrates these features of interconnectedness and invitation:

maxresdefaultIn the body touching body
It is me you seek
In the groans and the longings
It is me you seek
In the yearning dream
In the need-to-be-seen
In the love-me love-me
It is me you seek
In the breath-drop wonders
In the gasping hunger
In the touch of a stranger
That makes you feel younger
In the books and the fables
In the this-is-me labels
In the is-this-me?
Is   this   me?

One is reminded of yet another poet.

At its conclusion, YHWH highlights God’s basic invitation to all of us: toward life and freedom through salvation. And as we respond to that invitation, it’s important that we grasp exactly what it is for. As God continues singing to us in this mysterious harmony across His creation and throughout our lives, how should our response take shape?

As Evan concludes at the end of Episode 1 of FLOW:

The Psalmist writes, “The earth is the lord and everything in it, the world and all who live in it, for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters.” Now listen to the words of Jeremiah: “Pray to the Lord for it, for if it prospers, you too will prosper.”

…All of our work is designed to bring flourishing to the world, to be an act of priesthood, an act of blessing — an offering. This priesthood is our original calling and has been restored to us through the gracious blood of Jesus. His song in the world is gift, and we are called to play this song in all we do. So go, live in your true nature, with the work of your hands, your everyday work, and the words of your mouth, the very breath that you breathe. Bless and sanctify the world.

“Make it a gift and offer it back to God,” he concludes, “for his glory and for the life of the world.”

For more on YHWH, see the YHWH Project.

For more on God’s economy of all things, see For the Life of the World: Letters to the Exiles, or watch the trailer below.

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Joseph Sunde is an associate editor and writer for the Acton Institute. His work has appeared in venues such as The Federalist, First Things, The Christian Post, The Stream, Intellectual Takeout, Foundation for Economic Education, Patheos, LifeSiteNews, The City, Charisma News, The Green Room, Juicy Ecumenism, Ethika Politika, Made to Flourish, and the Center for Faith and Work. Joseph resides in Minneapolis, Minnesota with his wife and four children.

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