Imagine Word on the Week 7th August 2021.
The late John Lennon’s humanist hymn “Imagine” has become a regular at the Olympics. This is the 5th games in which it has been sung. Some will recall Lennon dressed in white at a white baby grand piano in a large white room of his mansion with his wife Yoko Ono adjusting the white curtains. A surreal setting for the poetical tirade.
In his imagination there is no heaven or hell, only the present. No countries, no religion, nothing to fight for because no one has any possessions. No need for greed or hunger because there will be a sharing of the world’s things leading to us all living as one. There are shades of Lennon’s brush with Hinduism where the goal was to merge into an impersonal oneness.
Here in Dublin we had our own personal Guru who established Yoga in the country. He used Scripture quoting Mark Chapter 11 verse 24 – “Whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you will receive it and it will be yours.” This became the basis of ‘visualisation’ – imagining people were well.
Read in context Jesus is teaching the praying person to set aside his doubts and have faith in God coupled with forgiveness to those who he has something against, then he would be ready to pray – verses 22 to 25. Thus the passage takes into account not only what is to be prayed but the state of the one who prays to almighty God.
Sadly, there are plenty of John Lennon’s around when it comes to understanding Christianity. Our imaginations are engaged at an early stage. I can remember firmly believing that good people go to heaven and bad people go the hell. It seemed logical that you should at least try to be good! The trouble was I wasn’t much good at it and all the churchgoing didn’t make me any better!
I had bought into the false hope of salvation through right behaviour and moral reformation. I became a first class hypocrite! Clean on the outside but a mess on the inside! But it was the outside that appeared to be all that mattered so I got on well with all my hypocrite friends.
Then the preacher, Robert McGhee, told me I was a sinner in need of repentance. I could understand the first bit but this repentance, turning around and going in the opposite direction, brought the usual argument – I am not so bad etc. to my mind.
It was when he added that my faith was to be in the sinbearing work of Jesus on the cross that it became personal and I knew that he died for me (1Timothy Chapter 1 verse 15). And that needs no imagination!