An Active Imagination

“Peaceable Kingdom”, John August Swanson, 1994

Amos 9: 13-15

13The time is surely coming, says the Lord, when the one who plows shall overtake the one who reaps, and the treader of grapes the one who sows the seed; the mountains shall drip sweet wine, and all the hills shall flow with it. 14I will restore the fortunes of my people Israel, and they shall rebuild the ruined cities and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and drink their wine, and they shall make gardens and eat their fruit. 15I will plant them upon their land, and they shall never again be plucked up out of the land that I have given them, says the Lord your God.

So, out here in the wilderness, what are we supposed to do while we wait for things to get better?  I mean, faith is about waiting, yes.  But faith is also about doing. Faith is supposed to be active, right?  So what are we supposed to be DOING during this wilderness time?  And how can we find out more about when this will actually resolve?

We 21st century journeyers struggle with the unknown, with just leaving things to chance, with admitting that perhaps there are those aspects of our journey that are not for us to know now. That is what Advent does for us…it points us toward mystery. Some would equate that to nothingness or, perhaps, even to darkness–unknown, foreboding, maybe even a little dangerous. But God came and comes over and over again. I think that God’s coming does not, much to some of our chagrin, bring with it the surety that we might like. In fact, knowing everything that’s ahead, being so absolutely sure of how everything is going to turn out, is surely the death of our faith.  Because if you are so sure of everything, why would you need faith at all?  God doesn’t give us surety; God instead instills faith in us to lead us through the darkness.

It is our faith that opens the door to our imagination.  And it is our imagination that strengthens our faith.   God says…walk with me awhile my child and look…look far beyond where you can see…listen far beyond where you can hear…journey far beyond where you think you belong…and there, there I will be, and there will be the Creation that I have created for you. You can’t see it right now.  But you can imagine it. 

Imagination is not some remnant of our childhood that we were supposed to lose as we matured.  It is part of us and it matures with us.  A mature imagination has no limits to what it can envision; it has no boundaries to what it can do.  A mature imagination steps beyond reason and intellect, not leaving them behind, but sweeping them into a new image, a vision of a New Creation.  A mature imagination is fueled by faith.  Our imagination takes us to the place to which God leads us.  Our imagination gives us a glimpse of the mystery that God has promised, the promise of new life.

Advent is about imagining.  Think of those that came more than 2,000 years before us.  They were imagining what the coming of the Messiah would mean.  Now they more than likely got it wrong.  But that’s not the point.  They were imagining a new Creation, a new way of being.  They were imagining that their lives would be better, that peace and justice would rule, that hunger and poverty would be no more.  They were imagining that they would find there way home.  And their faith walked them in that direction.  So, in this Advent so many years later, just imagine…

Your imagination is your preview of life’s coming attractions. (Albert Einstein)

Grace and Peace,


2 thoughts on “An Active Imagination

  1. We , as a society, are still striving towards achieving the world that Amos dreamed almost 3000 years ago. Since Amos lived no one, except perhaps Dr King, has ever made a more passionate plea for social justice. So we are still using our imaginations right along side of Amos.

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