Written by Gradye Parsons
Each month the Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the Moderator or Vice Moderator of the 220th General Assembly write a column of general interest for the church-at-large.
There were many of us who went to see the new Stars Wars movie, The Force Awakens. Kathy and I always think back on our first Stars Wars movie when we took our six-week-old son to the $2 theater in Saugus, Massachusetts. We were struck at the kind of imagination it took George Lucas to create the movie.
The church and imagination have always been uncertain dance partners. They have stepped on each other’s toes and fought over who leads. We have witnessed the trouble a poor soul encounters when they imagine a piece of church furniture can be moved or a tradition changed. While no one wants to hear the same sermon every Sunday, whoa to the preacher who lets their imagination get beyond the congregation’s.
And yet imagination is key to the life of faith. The visions of the prophets were holy imaginations of what Israel could be. Jesus’ use of parables was sacred imagination in the power of storytelling. John’s vision of God’s kingdom victory over the Roman Empire has fueled imaginations for 2,000 years.
Perhaps the biggest stretch of our holy imagination is ourselves as a more faithful disciple. We know the facts about ourselves. We know the shelf life of our January resolution. We know we have made these promises before.
But here we have an edge over Lucas. The power of our force is the gift of grace. That grace, with the personal coaching of the Holy Spirit, has the power that the Empire can only dream about. We are not stuck on some isolated planet. We are called to imagine 2our life as more faithful, more grace filled, and more focused on others. And may that force be with you.