Saturday, December 12, 2015

A Time to Imagine

Magnificat:   Luke 1:46-55
From “Daily Evening Prayer: Rite Two”, The Book of Common Prayer

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior; *
    for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed: *
    the Almighty has done great things for me,
    and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him *
    in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm, *
    he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, *
    and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things, *
    and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel, *
    for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
The promise he made to our fathers, *
    to Abraham and his children for ever.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: *
    as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen. 
When my son was younger, he’d spend hours, arms outstretched, leaping and swooping through the house.  If you asked him what he was doing at any given time, sometimes he’d answer, “I’m an airplane, zooming over the jungle.”   Other times, he’d answer, “I’m a mommy eagle soaring through the sky to get back to her babies, high up in the tree.”  And still other times he’d whiz past me calling over his shoulder, “I’m a stripy monarch butterfly migrating to Mexico for the winter.”

I loved experiencing the sacred wonder and infinite possibility that his young mind imagined.  
Sometimes, he’d invite to me participate in the drama as it unfolded.  “Mama, it is hard to be a butterfly. You can be the milkweed pod where the butterfly comes to rest for the long flight ahead,” he’d say as he circled around, pausing to rest his head on my shoulder, before whispering into the air, “Thank you, God for the milkweed.”   Just as quickly as he’d come, he’d get swept back up in the imaginary wind currents that would presumably carry him southward.
Imagination, a bit like faith, is a sacred knowing that there are infinite possibilities for how things might unfold—a hopeful, creative knowing that is not limited by what the world would have us think is feasible.   
It is the creative space in which a tired butterfly discovers milkweed—strong and stable—rising up at just the right moment in the journey, blessing the winged traveler on his way.  
It is the holy song in which young Mary can see God’s promise of mercy and love and justice for the outcasts, the downtrodden, and the powerless already fulfilled, even in the midst of ongoing violence and oppression. It is through her openness to, and participation in, faithful and sacred imagination—in her willingness to see things as they can be—that Mary is able to bear the reality of God’s own self into the world.
Perhaps, in this season of Advent and beyond, we too are called to make time for holy imagination. How might we create sacred space in which we can let go of the negative limitations we are so prone to see in the world, and, instead be willing to see, and co-create things as they can be, with God’s help?

God of Imagination and possibility, give us eyes to see the world as you imagine it can be.  And guide us as we seek to embody your Spirit of life-giving possibility in the world around us.  Amen.

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