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Sunday, November 29 2020

This is #37 in Crossing the Threshold series.

I am going to try and wrap things up for the series Crossing the Threshold by weaving narrative (story) back into worship. Just as a brief reminder, in the first part of the series I took you on a journey into the world of story; specifically the story which is known at all times and in all places as the Hero Journey. I proposed that the reason this story is mythic in scope and touches peoples hearts is because it is God’s eternal story of his son Jesus Christ.* Then we diverged and went into a whole section on the what, who, why, and how of Christian worship and now we are going to put the two parts, story and practice, together to try and recapture a truth which has been lost. It is a truth which can transform your worship, your life, and call you into a much larger story…but in order for this to happen you will need your imagination.

Imagination is something which is seriously lacking in Christianity as it is so often practiced in a sacred/secular split world. I want to recommend a lecture given by Kevin Vanhoozer entitled In Bright Shadow: C.S.Lewis on the Imagination for Theology and Discipleship. Don’t let the title scare you …it is wonderful and can be found on the internet and on You Tube. One of the many quotes I liked in this paper (I printed all 28 pages off to save) is: “Where Reason excels in taking things apart and analyzing individual pieces, the imagination perceives the whole of which the pieces are a part. Imagination is the organ of discerning meaningful patterns. It is the power of insight, that Eureka moment when all the parts fall into place, transforming what would otherwise be an incoherent jumble into a meaningful whole.”

 Ever since the 18th century “Enlightenment” reason has excelled taking apart the Bible, making the 66 books individual pieces…you know “Bible stories” not a story. There is no qualm now about taking verses out of chapters and using them for inspirational posters or bumper stickers in which they lose their entire context and meaning. Worship services have also been broken down into pieces and parts which can be rearranged and changed by every new pastor. It is no wonder then, most people are unable to see the world in biblical terms and often find their faith waning.

What we need is a “baptism of imagination” (C.S. Lewis’ term). We need not only to see the whole story to which all of the pieces are a part, we need a way to enter and embody the story. To prepare for the journey it might be good to stop and pray asking the Lord to baptize your imagination!

*Ecclesiastes 3:11

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