28TH JULY 2022
FAITH ALSO NEEDS IMAGINATION.
What imaginations do we have about the kingdom of God? How far can we think about it and to what extent can we actualize these thoughts or do we just think about the kingdom of God in the normal ways? Normal ways mean just as we have known it to be and it can remain that way.
The parable in today's Gospel reading has Jesus inviting his disciples to imagine that the kingdom of God is like something of incomparable value that while it may or may not be valued by the world, is worth everything you have. Only a fisherman knows the value of catching good fish.
The ability to imagine things pervade our existence. It influences everything we do, think about and create. It leads to elaborate theories, dreams and inventions in any profession. Most of the things we use in order for life to move on comfortably and smoothly are all products of imaginations.
If that is the case, does faith need imaginations that can bring about elaborate theories and dreams that can be actualized?
Humans use imagination for a variety of reasons: to acquire experience and knowledge about the world, to better understand another person's perspective, to solve problems and to create opportunities and to interact.
Imagination comes with the question: what if? Imagination means that you understand your surroundings and its realities. Stagnation takes place where there is no imagination.
If faith needs imagination, we will notice that Jesus was good at what we call practical imagination that made people understand and embrace the kingdom of God.
The parable that precedes the one in today's Gospel reading talks of someone finding a perfect specimen of the pearls he has spent his life trading, he sells all he has in order to possess this one. All he cares about is getting that pearl and that is why again we emphasize that he sells everything to get it.
The idea to sell everything came from his power of imagination an aspect that the rich man in Matthew 19:16-22 lacked. He could not imagine selling all that he had so as to gain eternal life.
Today's parable shifts our imagination or our attention from our desire to find God's kingdom to God's desire to find all of us. This shows that imagination is about attention, focus and desire.
If God has the desire to find us then it is evident that God's finding catches all manner of fish, good and bad, and that the intention of God catching all of us is to scoop all of us into God's grace. The main point to imagine here is to scoop all into God's grace, not a few but all. Have you ever imagined this?
Another element that we are being called to imagine about is that the job of sorting out good fish from the bad fish in the net is not ours but belongs to God.
Today's parable also calls upon us not to imagine constructing a theology of judgment on the bad fish. It only draws us up short, giving us a glimpse of God's surprising kingdom and inviting us to re-imagine our assumptions.
Based on our experiences and surroundings, how do we currently or always imagine the kingdom of God? Is there any aspect of your faith and of our church that needs re-imagination? What role does imagination have in your faith, in your family, in your relationships and in your career and in your day to day activities?