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Thursday, December 3, 2015

Anxiety, imagination and hope...

Within the space of two days this week I heard the word IMAGINATION used in two contexts.
First the sermon at Ponsonby Baptist Church. In the Biblical story of Moses, the creative imagination of some women triggered a life-giving change in the death-dealing culture at work in Egypt at the time. (Moses mother and sister putting baby Moses in a water-proof 'ark' in the Nile precipitated a life that led to adult Moses leading his whole nation out of slavery. Exodus 1:15-2:10) My summary doesn't do any justice to the sermon - but I hope you get the basic idea of creative, life-giving imagination at work! That sermon filled me with hope. In the 'death and destruction' culture in our world today, the thought that "a few insignificant women" could use their imagination and set in motion a chain of events that changed history was profoundly encouraging. Of course the long term outcome of that one courageous, risky action took many years to be revealed. But in a strange way that is hopeful too. I may not live to see the final outcome but creative life-giving actions I take now are part of the amazing divine weaving of history.
During Advent I'm participating in an on-line retreat with Abbey of the Arts. On Monday one of the reflections included this line: "Anxiety is such a waste of the imagination." I love that line! As a person who can easily imagine 'worst-case scenarios' I know how that leads to anxiety! And yes, what a waste of my imagination! How much more profitable (and pleasurable) to use my imagination for creative, hopeful options. There are plenty of these already in our global village. For instance: who had the imagination to orchestrate thousands of pairs of shoes in Paris when the Climate Change March there was cancelled for fear of terrorist attacks?!

And come to think of it - whose creative imagination was it that decided "Peace on earth and good will to all people" could begin with a teenage mother and a baby born in the cowshed?