Imagination - August 11th, 2019
We will all be familiar with those occasions where children have been given interesting and often expensive presents, but in the end it has been the cardboard box they arrived in that has given them more pleasure. Because it appealed to their imagination.
Of course there are different types of imagination. We can imagine what it’s going to be like when we go somewhere new. That’s anticipation. We can imagine a celebrity lifestyle and the millions that go with it. That’s fantasy or escapism. And we can imagine a situation where life just doesn’t have to be the way it is now and be inspired to change things. That’s hope - and it’s critical.
The Bible tells us of the Israelite slaves who could not imagine that their situation as slaves could ever end. It would go on forever. But then God sent them Moses, and he got them to imagine a new life and got them to believe that with faith in God, courage and perseverance things did not have to be the way they were.
Jesus also encouraged people to imagine a different kind of world. His people lived under the Romans - and that was no picnic. His stories and teachings got them to see how they could live differently and be free on the inside even when the Romans were making their lives miserable. With love and compassion and resistance without violence!
Every time he healed people it was a sign: this was not the world God intended it to be, and it could change. Every time he restored disturbed people to a happier state it was a sign that things could change. Unlikely things could happen. It just took a little imagination - and I suppose, faith, hope and love.
Lots of things Jesus said were meant to jar people, to jolt them into seeing their lives could be different. Often his stories didn’t have a neat ending. You had to imagine what happened next. And he once even challenged people - whether he meant it literally or not is hard to say - to sell all they had and give it away. Can you imagine a world where people really looked after one another to that extent? That takes some imagination.
Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Lord, when I am comfortable, don’t let me close my eyes to your hopes for us. When I am struggling, don’t let me think things will never change. When my imagination runs dry, you’d better give me some of yours. Amen.