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A Call to Imagination

A Lent Reflection for Saturday, March 23 by Pastor Sara Fisher


Lectionary reading for 03/23/2024: Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29; Jeremiah 33:10-16; Mark 10:32-34, 46-52

Selected passage for reflection: Jeremiah 33:10-16


Read

Jeremiah 33:10-16 NIV

“This is what the Lord says: ‘You say about this place, “It is a desolate waste, without people or animals.” Yet in the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem that are deserted, inhabited by neither people nor animals, there will be heard once more the sounds of joy and gladness, the voices of bride and bridegroom, and the voices of those who bring thank offerings to the house of the Lord, saying,


“Give thanks to the Lord Almighty, for the Lord is good; his love endures forever.”


For I will restore the fortunes of the land as they were before,’ says the Lord.

“This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘In this place, desolate and without people or animals—in all its towns there will again be pastures for shepherds to rest their flocks. In the towns of the hill country, of the western foothills and of the Negev, in the territory of Benjamin, in the villages around Jerusalem and in the towns of Judah, flocks will again pass under the hand of the one who counts them,’ says the Lord.


“‘The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will fulfill the good promise I made to the people of Israel and Judah. 


“‘In those days and at that time    I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line;    he will do what is just and right in the land.In those days Judah will be saved    and Jerusalem will live in safety.This is the name by which it[a] will be called:    The Lord Our Righteous Savior.’



Reflect 

As I sit down to write this reflection I can hear my two and four year old kids running through the hallways-- dressed as superheroes, tackling some imagery situation with great enthusiasm. Their imaginations run wild, and for hours at a time. I’m amazed at the worlds my four year old creates in his brain as he builds legos, sets pillow fort traps for made up creatures, or sees animals in the clouds. In my best moments I’m drawn into his imagination, allowing myself to play along for a bit. But most of the time I’m too busy to get caught up, and move on quickly to my next task. 


When’s the last time you got lost in imagination for imagination's sake? That you stopped to play, or to wonder, or stare at the clouds looking for whatever fun shapes appear? 

 

As adults we often lose our ability to wonder and imagine. Or perhaps we have just devalued these tools as so inefficient and childish that we’ve forgotten that God actually calls us to them. Imagination and hope are closely tied. When we fill our days with only what’s productive and efficient, we so often miss the hints of God’s greater reality in our midst. Again and again in Scripture God calls his people to imagine the world differently than what lies in front of them. 


You say about this place...but I (the Lord) say...


You say it is desolate and destroyed, but I say it will flourish and sheep will graze under the hand of their shepherd. Where there is silence, there will be sounds of laughter, joy and worship.Where there is danger, there will be safety, and a savior. 


I wonder what hearing these words from Jeremiah must have been like. To some it seemed like foolish ramblings, hopeful nonsense. But to others, maybe just a few-- these words sparked the warm joy of “what if” in their hearts. What if God is really at work here? What if what we see in front of us won’t last forever? What if peace is possible? What if God really is sending a savior?  What if God has really been listening all this time? 


To believe this promise takes imagination and wonder. What if...?


It is in this kind of imagination and wonder that the hope of God takes root within us: When we see the promises of God playing out before us, when we really consider if His words might be true-- despite how unlikely they look in the moment. 



The words the prophet Jeremiah spoke here come true. God once again protects his people who have been scattered, providing safety and security. But this physical security isn’t the height of God’s promise-- as we know that security ebbs and flows throughout history. God’s promise here is for something so much greater--a righteous branch from the house of David-- the Lord, our righteous savior is on His way. 


The promise Jeremiah speaks of then is the same for us now-- God has sent his Son, Jesus-- the only righteous Savior-- and in Him all the sad things of life will come untrue. He is the one who longs to rescue us from whatever dead and desolate realities we find ourselves in. He is the one who offers life overflowing; the good shepherd who guides and watches over us, the lamb of God who lays down his own life for ours. We have a righteous savior, who meets us where we are today and invites us into his family. What if it’s true? 


Respond 

Take 5 minutes today to slow down and make space in your mind to imagine with God. What promises of God do you long to see come true? What would it look like in your life and in the world if they did. Allow your mind to wonder and ask God to show you how to faithfully follow Him today. 


Rest 

Lord, make space in my busy life and heart to imagine with you today. Remind me of your truth and your promises, and give me the courage to believe them, no matter how unlikely they seem today. 


About the Author 


Sara Fisher is a wife, mother and Family Pastor from Northern California. She loves coffee, lazy days at home with the fam and being out in nature. She experiences deep joy seeing kids + teenagers (and all people) live into their specific calling God has given them, and walking alongside them in the process.




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