The Imagination of God

Living with young children means a life full of imagination.

I love listening to Teddy imagine adventures for his pirates, superheroes, bad guys and construction workers (sometimes all at once) or watch as a ski mask transforms him into a ninja or wrist guards make him Iron Man.

Teddy is at the age where ordinary stuff is full of possibility and wonder. I envy him that.

Too often, we adults buy into the idea that the realm of imagination belongs to children while grownups deal with “the real world.”

Any imagination adults allow ourselves is handed over to a particular group of people, the creative types, artists and poets of every kind who entertain us, add beauty, make us see ourselves and our world in a different way.

But what a mistake it is to let go of imagination. Imagination is one of God’s greatest gifts to us and when I really think about it, imagination (and the creativity that goes with it) is at the heart of faith.

God, after all, is the original creator, setting a world of creative possibility in motion and calling all of it good, and making human beings stewards and caretakers of the earth’s gifts to us. But things didn’t go the way God hoped; instead of living in peace and love, human beings turned on one another and put their own needs and desires above everything else. So, God imagined something new, a new way for people to live.

  • God imagined childless, elderly Abraham and Sarah could be the parents of a new nation of people.
  • God imagined laws that honored people over possessions, and sought to establish a society that was fair and just and merciful.
  • When that plan didn’t quite work, God imagined coming to live among us, “moving into the neighborhood” as Jesus of Nazareth.
  • Jesus showed what God’s love looks and sounds like and stirred imaginations as he told stories about what the kingdom of God is like.

And after Jesus was no longer with us, what next? Through the gift of the Holy Spirit, God fills us with imagination to see what God is up to in the world already, and the courage, hope, energy and love to join in the creativity of it.

Friends, it can be so easy to look around and be discouraged by what is and is not happening in the world around us. But the eyes of faith see this world, imagine this world, differently.

May we, as individuals and as a congregation, be blessed with a vivid, and faith-full, imagination.