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  • Writer's pictureGrace A. Johnson

writing is communion | podcast transcript

Updated: May 30



This is a script of my latest Spirit & Script podcast episode, for those who don't listen to podcasts! Please note that I throw in extra little things or phrase things slightly differently when recording, but otherwise, this is what I said. Let me know if y'all would like me to share scripts/transcripts for all my future episodes!


Well, folks, it’s been a minute! Thank you so much for tuning into Spirit & Script podcast, where I’m back after an unintentional five-month sabbatical. Y’all last heard from me during NaNoWriMo, and since then, my family has gone through a lot of health emergencies and surgeries, holidays and birthdays, weddings, sickness, and just overall busyness. I’ve been wanting to come back to podcasting for so long, but it’s been really hard to get up the motivation, and in typical perfectionist fashion, I keep reevaluating the direction I want this podcast to go in.

And now Spotify is changing things up and come June, I won’t be able to create episodes like I have been. So I intend to make the most of this spring and continue with Season 2, then I may be taking another sabbatical over the summer to figure out the new recording software and prepare for Season 3. I also have a lot of other projects that may get in the way of that, so we’ll see! Lord willing and the creek don’t rise, I’ll continue podcasting and we’ll grow this little audio community into something big and beautiful.

I appreciate all of y’all who have continued listening and are doing just that right now! I quite literally couldn’t do it without y’all.

Today, we’re kicking off a mini-series on what writing is—from a spiritual perspective. The theme, you could say, for this season is “fiction through the lens of faith,” and originally, I had ideas for episodes that addressed certain aspects of fiction—like heroines, magic, and romance—from the perspective of a Christian writer. And as much as I love those ideas and as much as I want to cover those topics, I’d like to take Season 2 down a different road. Instead of zeroing in on specific elements, I want to talk about fiction as a whole, from the POV of both a writer and a reader. We’ll get into the specifics later, maybe as bonus episodes or in the next season.

So enough ado. The topic of today’s episode is plain and simple: writing is communion.


What is communion?


Etymoline, my favorite site for word origins and meanings, defines communion as “participation in something; that which is common to all; union in religious worship, doctrine, or discipline."

In general, we often think of this as fellowship between people. Participating in an event or experience or even in a feeling. As Christians, the word has become the name for a specific form of participation—partaking of the Lord’s Supper and communing not only with fellow believers but also with Christ in His suffering and sacrifice.

But communion isn’t just the Eucharist. Communion is anything that unites us to God, tethers us to Him. Communion is partaking in the divine.

C.S. Lewis believed in the immanence of God, that is, God’s presence in even the most mundane things. In Letters to Malcolm, Chiefly on Prayer, he said, that “all is holy and ‘big with God’…all ground is holy and every bush (could we but perceive it) a Burning Bush”. Lewis saw something of the divine in everything around him. Every small act. Every forgettable second. Every monotonous day. He was aware of the heavenly quality of earthly things, of the presence of the spiritual in everyday experiences.

Communion is finding God, seeking Him, communicating with Him in anything and everything.

The way I see it, God is Creator. It’s a title, a quality, only He can possess, but that He has endowed to us by creating us in His image, according to Genesis 1:27. Thus, we have an earthly shadow of His heavenly qualities—like creativity. Our creativity comes from Him and is to be given back to Him—but that’s a topic for another day.

Because of the heavenliness of creativity, when we create, we model God. We participate in the work of God, the beautiful, otherworldly work of creating.

And writing is, of course, a form of creating—and as such, it is a spiritual experience. A way of communing with God.

So the question—because there must always be a question—is are we communing with God when we write? Do we see writing as something heavenly, spiritual, divine? Or as something earthly and mundane?

Are we looking for God in what we write? Are we inviting Him into our work—our humanly work which reflects His godly work? Are we listening to Him speak through the pages and computer screens and pencil scratches?

Have we made this divine conversation one-way, or do we offer up our words, our bread and wine, to God?

If the answer is no, you haven’t been looking for God in your writing or communing with Him while creating, it’s not too late to begin.

You’re welcome to take some time and ponder my questions on your own, but I also invite you to keep listening and we’ll explore what communion looks like together!


How do we find God in our writing?


If you google that question (which I just did), you’re going to find a lot of great articles…on an entirely different subject: writing for God’s glory, seeing His hand in your life story, etc. All wonderful topics, and ones I want to discuss in the near future, but not the same as the idea of seeking God out through the process of creating—whether writing or another medium.

The gist of it is discovering the divine in creation. It’s a mindset change, if you will. Shifting from compartmentalizing life into “sacred” and “secular” spaces and being open to the reality that God is present in all we do (you know, minus sin, obviously) and that every little thing can be lifted up to Him as an act of worship. It’s seeing your creativity in a new, different, holier light, recognizing that you’ve been set apart for the service of God.

That reminds me of the Levites in the Old Testament. I’ve been reading 1 and 2 Chronicles lately, and one of the key themes the Chronicler touches on so much is the importance of the Levites in holding the Jewish community together. The Levites were set apart to serve God by singing Psalms, taking care of the Temple, performing purification ceremonies, and more. Being consecrated to God and His Temple required them to give up their right to tribal lands in the Promised Land and to live off of the food offerings presented to the Lord. In Deuteronomy 18:1-2, it says that the Lord Himself promised to be their inheritance, rather than land.

To be wholly devoted to God, the Levites had to become wholly dependent on God. For them, that looked like having no land to hold onto and pass down, no land to till and bring forth provision from. That looked like relying solely on the food offered to God—and these food offerings would only be presented to God when the people were obedient to Him and the community was focused on Him rather than idols. So you see how it all entwined—for the Levites to live, they had to rely on God, and in turn, it was their very service to Him through maintaining the Temple and encouraging worship in their community that God would provide for them.

God was working in everything then, and He’s working in everything now. He’s calling us to lay everything down, everything we think we have a right to, everything we need to live—all so that He can be our only source, our primary focus. So that we can rely entirely on Him and trust Him in anything and everything.

So to find Him, we’ve got to actually actively look for Him. Matthew 7:7-8 says “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened” and Jeremiah 29:13 says “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.”

We need to let go of our worries and concerns and just see how He’s moving and working in every aspect of our lives. Just like menial repairs and writing songs was how the Levites engaged with the presence of God and gave themselves totally over to Him, the things we do, the things we’ve been called to do, no matter how small, are a way of connecting to God. Tethering ourselves to Him. Offering up ourselves.


How do you commune with God through writing?


To commune with Him through writing, the first step is obvious: pray. You can literally write prayers, or you can write prayerfully. I love doing both, but I wanna talk about writing prayerfully, since that really ties into creative or fiction writing more.

Writing prayerfully starts with praying over your words, your stories, your creative endeavors. When you open up your laptop or notebook, pray. When you reach a roadblock in your story, pray. When you have doubts about your writing, pray. Dedicate your book to God. Ask Him to write through you.

Not only that, but even before you start on a new story idea or begin developing themes for your book, go to God. Ask for His guidance. Lean into Him and write what He places on your heart—because He can use it in so many amazing ways. Ways you can’t even imagine.

About a year ago, I decided to work on a story that was a little bit different than what I usually do. And I struggled with it so, so much. On the surface, it had mythical creatures and magic systems that I don’t have a lot, if any, experience with. But once I got deeper into it, I realized that the faith I love so much and the messages that mean the world to me were totally absent in this story. And I tried to cram them in there or make excuses, but that didn’t remove the real problem: there was no heart or soul or God in this story.

So I set it aside and I opened a blank document and I typed the first sentence that popped into my head. And it was such a strange sentence. At first glance, the premise of this story didn’t seem any better than the original one I was working on. But I just completely surrendered myself and the story and I just wrote without any hesitancy or intentions for this story—and the process has been SO much smoother than with the other project. There is so much faith in here, it’s overflowing, and it feels real to me and meaningful and I’m so in love with it, if you couldn’t tell. 😅

But that’s what happens when you lift your story up to God and you take your hands off the keyboard (figuratively, of course) and let Him write whatever He wants to through you.

Another way of writing prayerfully is to use the actual process of writing to release pent-up prayers within you. So many writers say that writing is cathartic to them, that it helps them express their feelings in a way they can’t by talking, that it is therapeutic. And it is! But even more so on a spiritual level, when you let God speak to you through your writing, when you’re honest about your struggles and questions and doubts and fears and just bare your soul on the page.

Almost every book I’ve written has been healing for me in some way, or has taught me something. The novella I wrote last spring forced me to examine all my fears and dreams and submit them to God—even when all I wanted to do was hold them close. Even a year later, that story still serves as a reminder, imprinted on my heart and mind, of how important surrender is. How God is working in everything in my life.

When my character prayed in that story, I was praying too. I was, in a way, purging myself by writing those things that I hadn’t even realized were part of me too. God was working. He was moving. He’s done it so many times before, and He’ll continue to do it over and over again, as long as I’m open to Him and I’m listening to Him.

He can do for you, in you, through you, too. Because writing truly is a spiritual experience. It can connect us to the divine, to the Creator of All Himself—but only if we let go over ourselves and set our mind on Him.

Colossians 3:1-5 and 12-17 ESV states:

“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.

“Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”


How do you see God in your writing? Have any of your stories been like prayers?
What can you do to commune with God more, in everything you do?



Works Cited


“Communion." Etymoline. https://www.etymonline.com/search?q=communion. Accessed 11 May

2024.

Lewis, C.S. Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer. Harcourt, 1963.

The ESV Bible. Crossway, 2001, www.esv.org/.











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5 Comments


Katherine
Jun 06

I listened to your podcast, and it was SO good! So much good truth in it. Thank you for sharing it!

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Grace A. Johnson
Grace A. Johnson
Jun 08
Replying to

Aww, thank you!! So glad you enjoyed it! :D

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Iona Barton
May 30

I have only had a chance to read over parts of this, but not because it's not Epic. This has...so much power. I love it, love it, Gracie. This is just what I needed to hear in my writing journey, something I have been thinking about in reading, but needed a reminder for in writing yet again, thank you!

My stories always struggle when I separate them from my faith. I've been learning to let the deepest parts of what I know about God and my relationship with him INTO the story, not just the usual sort of themes that feel right and acceptable.

I'll be coming back to this <3

Iona

Like
Iona Barton
May 31
Replying to

Thank you!! I definitely be checking it out

Love when you can see patterns of GOd moving over different lives and sites : )

Amen!!!😁

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