Do you remember the first time you heard the Beatles? Or sung a Beatles song? Do you remember what song it was?
“Imagine” was mine. We sung it in Mrs. Blacklock’s music class at Bryn Mawr. I can still remember the purple-inked ditto sheet the lyrics were printed on:
Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today … aha-ah …
“Imagination is more important than knowledge,” Albert Einstein once said. “For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.”
Imagination is a bridge connecting the present moment to a possible future. When we imagine something in our mind’s eye, we have a concept, a picture, an image that we can work towards, to build, to create. A dream to manifest into reality. A hope to fulfill. “Heaven”, if you will, to “bring down” to “earth”.
Imagination can be prayer, just as prayer can be imagination.
Are you in a broken relationship? Can you pray for … can you imagine … what being in a healed relationship would look and feel like? Can you pray for … can you imagine … what a healed city would look like? Can you pray for … can you imagine … what a healed nation might be? (What our public discourse would sound like? What our institutions and systems might accomplish, and in what manner?)
Can you pray? Can you imagine?
And then, to play on the words of D.C. public school teacher, theologian and lay preacher Verna Dozier, does our world actually come closer to the “dream of God”, because of what you imagine?
Prayer is where the dream of God begins; action is where the dream leads. Imagination is how God’s dream is conceived; engagement is how it is birthed. Prayer and action, action and prayer. Imagination and engagement, engagement and imagination. An ongoing dance … an ongoing circle … if we are willing to be God’s minds and hearts and hands and feet, building God’s “Kingdom” here on earth. One healed relationship. One healed school or institution. One healed community. At a time.
There is an African proverb that goes: If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.
Imagine where we might go … and let’s go there … traveling and living The Way … together.