….the intuitive language of the imagination …so vital..... call(ing) us to leave our personalities behind and temporarily inhabit another’s experience, looking at the world with new eyes. Art invites us to meet the Other—whether that be our neighbor or the infinite Otherness of God—and to achieve a new wholeness of spirit. (Gregory Wolfe, Beauty Will Save the World)
Gregory Wolf, has published a journal in Seattle called Image for the past 25 years. Wolfe (as do all artists—writers, poets, dramatists, illustrators, etc) encourages an intuitive language of the imagination so that we might not only “sense” the world around us in new ways, but especially to encounter and embrace the “Other”. That Other could be another human being—a veteran back from Iraq or Afghanistan, one of our children’s teachers, an electrician or plumber, a neighbor next door. The Other could also be God, or a perspective of God which until that moment we were unable to perceive, see, sense, and hear.
One great challenge facing the church today is the church’s ability to excite the imagination. As we attend Christ Church or serve in one of our ministries, are we seeing and sensing the “Other”? That Other might be a person in the next pew or a homeless person assisted through the Lazarus program. The Other might also be a new perception or awareness of the reality of God revealed in the reading of scripture, the singing of a hymn, sitting in silence or saying our prayers.
We who believe in Jesus (human beings with “feet of clay”) cling to fears and anxieties dampening our imaginations. Many of us have been raised to curb our imaginations, not to let them “run wild”. We have been raised to control and contain all possibilities, to dampen enthusiasm (en-theo—being infused with God), and to prepare for the worst. We think of ourselves as practical realists. Remember the women who made their way to the tomb before daybreak on Easter; they were practical realists expecting all their fears to be fulfilled. For this reason they could not make “sense” or believe that the stone had been rolled away; that the tomb would be empty. They had forgotten (or dismissed) everything Jesus said and promised for the future.
This Holy Week we are invited to enter into the Passion of Jesus, meaning we are encouraged to embrace Jesus’ suffering. The intuitive language of the imagination suggests that we can hear the jangle of the coins in the bag and feel the heft of 30 pieces of silver given to Judas for betraying Jesus. The intuitive language of the imagination means that we are stunned to hear Peter scream out loud—I DO NOT KNOW THE MAN! Peter then suddenly slumps as he is wracked by sobs comprehending his denial fulfilled. The intuitive language of the imagination makes each one of us groan with fiery pain as the severely sharp points of the briars pierce our skin as the crown of thorns is smashed hard down upon our heads. The intuitive language of imagination means that we gulp and try to breathe, mesmerized as Jesus exhales his last and final breath from the cross giving up his Spirit.
Come and BE a part of the story this Holy Week at Christ Church.