Light your candle of imagination
From absolutely nothing came absolutely everything that we see, touch, and taste. From the depths of emptiness, God is still creating a vast, ever-expanding universe.
Putting it mildly, that is some imagination.
If we, children of God, are built in the image of God, then the imagination gene is ours, too.
And the imagination gene is one we need. Consider how vital our imaginations are as we lift ourselves and others from the quagmires of despair and the downers that accrue each day. It takes more than hope to do this heavy lifting. Imagination is required, too. We Christians have to see what isn’t there. We have to conjure what isn’t seen. We have to generate what isn’t yet available.
All by imagination.
I think of the Advent candles many churches use in late November through Christmas Eve. Please do not hold me to specific significances to each candle each week because variances do occur. Traditionally, however, the candles lit each Sunday during Advent represent hope, faith, joy and peace (or hope, peace, joy and love).
It’s true that I’ve done no research on this, but I’m pretty sure most congregations don’t light an imagination candle.
And maybe all of us, regardless of where we are in the liturgical year, should light imagination candles.
Speaking to the liturgical calendar, one of this past Sunday’s lectionary selections included 1 John 3:16-24. It is important to remember that 1 John has three distinct parts. First the disciple turned apostle speaks to light, then love, and finally life. The third chapter begins John’s commentary on love. In verse 18 he writes, “Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions (NLT).”
Immediately, John is calling us to imagine. How are we to show the truth of love? What does this love look like? Where does this happen? Who is included? Is it somehow possible to leave someone out of this love, and, if so, when are the action steps in an action plan taken?
These questions can seem exciting or daunting—or both—but what I want to focus here is how examples of seeing what isn’t there is the work of the church. Newsfeeds wear us down if we don’t see the potentials God has for His dear children to envision not what is (first of all this is done all the time), but what can be.
Would you like three powerful and prophetic-leading words today? Here they are.
Imagine a world…
Imagine a world where love from God through us doesn’t rest but renews, restores and regenerates each day. Imagine a world where we actually get that we are dear children and this genealogy empowers, equips, and enables an equality that still hasn’t been seen by all. Imagine a world where, yes, we actually do what John instructs, we don’t just say we love each other; we show we love each other.
I have a hunch that the imagination candle has been blown out for some of us. For others, I see that candle waning, or feebly (or maybe even fiercely) flickering against a wind that is relentless, or, at least in the moment, too strong.
We can all light or relight imagination and stand strong in its glow.
Two quotes from two very different sources may help love be shared. The first is from the Apostle Paul, the second from Helen Keller.
“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace (Romans 8:5-6, ESV).”
“The most pathetic person in the world is someone who has sight, but has no vision.”
Envision of world where love for each other is not just said but shown, as John calls us to do. Having trouble seeing this? Light your candle of imagination.