Each morning I confront a blank page. I am finding thisÂ confrontation to be both frightening and invigorating. Each day, a kind of birth. After doing this now for a couple of weeks, what more could I possibly have to say? This is one of the voices in my head. Another, however reminds me that I am connected to the infinite God, whose very nature is to create. As conjured up in the hymn “Morning is Broken”, early morning is surely the best time for confronting the empty page.
In the beginning of the Bible we read that we were created in the image and likeness of God. This statement is made in the context of God doing a whole mess of creating: the heavens and the earth and everything else therein. One of the meanings of being made in God’s image is that we are partners with God in creation. Creativity is inherently “good”, as God says repeatedly in the very first chapter of the Book.
Imagination doesn’t get a fraction of the due it deserves. In the school system, children’s innate imagination tends to be given short shrift in deference to learning to do it right, whatever “it” is at the moment. I suppose there’s no getting around this. Too much imagination and not enough of “this is how it is done” means chaos, as in the chaos of the dark waters before God’s Spirit, hovering above like a mother hen brooding on her nest, gave birth to what is. And so the child learns to draw her cows standing solidly upon the ground — no more of this “cow jumping over the moon” business!
So we turn imagination over to the t.v. and film producers, and we sit back passively, reclining on our couches, allowing the “authorities” to decide what stories are told and how they are told. And we forget we even know how to tell a story — indeed, that our lives ARE stories — incredible stories that have the capacity to keep us on the edge of our seat, wondering what possibly could happen next.
Perhaps one of the meanings of Jesus’ statement, “Unless you turn and become like little children you cannot enter the Kingdom of God,” is that we must regain the boundless imagination we once had as little children. Perhaps faith and imagination go hand in hand, so that when Jesus says things like if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you can move mountains, and that nothing is impossible to the person who believes, he is talking at least in part about the power of unbridled imagination. The enormous problems that beset the human race at present: war, starvation, global warming seem insolvable simply because we are collectively suffering from writer’s block, and don’t know how to envision a world that breaks out of the “we’ve always done it this way” mold.
A wonderful little known radio program is “This American Life” on National Public Radio. Each week they tell real life stories linked around a common theme. This morning I listened to an extraordinarily moving segment entitled “Unconditional Love”. Hopefully your computer will alow you to go to This American Life, click archives and listen to this segment. The two stories they tell after the intro are very moving, and remind me of stories from within our congregation.