We were all created with an imaginative mind…right?
Watch a toddler discover over time the world that exists at his or her fingertips. The child’s brain soaks up the new information like a sponge; the imagination stretches like a rubber band.
Consider the pace of new product development that takes existing technology and expands its application to make our lives better…like the Apple Watch. Or the Triad-Orbit™ Advanced Stand Systems, invented and patented by my close friend, Herschel Blankenship, and his great team. This new microphone stand is revolutionizing all aspects of the music recording industry.
Or think about the brilliant discoveries medical science makes each year to advance life. Case in point: The first bionic eye, Argus II, receives a video signal from a camera built into sunglasses and wirelessly transmits that image to retinas of people who have lost their vision. It’s being likened to “Star Trek” technology. Continued development shows great promise for helping the physically blind to see again.
Wow. All around us, the world is expanding with the byproducts of our imaginations. What a great time to be alive! But…not all of us are going to invent something new. And maybe you’re like me. The rubber band isn’t stretching quite as easily as it once did. We need to keep our imaginations alive!
Enter what my beloved Pastor Care Crawford calls Imaginative Prayer: taking a story—any story, really—and putting yourself there in the scene, as if you are one of the story’s characters. In other words…what if you were there?
What a fun way to stretch our imagination muscles. (Yes…they can be reactivated!) For example, during a recent Spiritual Formation session I attended, Care picked the New Testament passage in the Gospel of Mark: verses 35-41 (see below). We all scattered for about twenty minutes, picked one character from the story that we would become, and retold the story from our character’s perspective in front of the class.
What a gas! I became Thomas, the doubting Apostle, right there in the boat with my fellow Apostles and Jesus.
That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, ‘Let us go over to the other side.’ Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, ‘Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?’
He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘Quiet! Be still!’ Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.
He said to his disciples, ‘Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?’
They were terrified and asked each other, ‘Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!’
Thomas’s Thoughts (As I imagined them)
I am Thomas…and I’m sure I’m going to die in this storm. All of us are going to sink into the sea and die, including Jesus. What am I doing here, anyway? I knew this Son of God idea was too good to be true.
Maybe my parents…my friends…my Jewish faith are all correct. The scriptures point to one God. Maybe I’m blaspheming the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—the one true God—by placing my belief in this man.
What if I die a physical and spiritual death because I am following him?
Wait…what’s this? He speaks and the sea is calm in an instant. Did he do this with his words? Surely this cannot be the case. But maybe…just maybe.
More than likely, it was a strange coincidence. The natural strength of the storm rose and died on its own accord—as it has on rare occasions before. But these things happened simultaneously. He spoke, the storm died. Even my doubts cannot deny this.
I will continue to walk with him and watch closely for any future events that seem to contradict the natural world.
After all—I do love the man.
Do it with your spouse or your kids. And like I said…pick any story you want. I like this one because I’m partial to stories about rescue. If you peruse my website, you’ll find I’m all about history, too. So, in case you were wondering…
On March 17, 1845, Stephen Perry, who owned a rubber manufacturing company, patented the first rubber bands made of vulcanized rubber. Perry invented the rubber band to hold papers or envelopes together. A simple but imaginative household and business product we use to this day!