Using our spiritual imaginations to really remember the Lord
by Pastor Matthew Bishop
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Assemble the people before me to hear my words so that they may learn to revere me as long as they live in the land and may teach them to their children (Deuteronomy 4:10).
Do you know any adults who collect Lego? The shelves in my home office have two Lego castles, one pirate ship, one four-wheel drive and caravan rig, and a large ‘baby’ Yoda figurine. I’m still fascinated by Lego. Love building it! But I don’t play the endless hours of ‘make believe’ I used to. Whole school holidays were once given over to various Lego adventures. It’s kind of sad now. I suspect my imagination, more than growing up, has just gotten a bit boring. Perhaps that’s what growing up is!
God wants us to have and gives us spiritual imagination. I don’t mean ‘make-believe’. I mean thinking more to akin to the Jewish way of remembrance. To remember as a Jew is akin to going to that earlier time and place. Experiencing it with the rest of the nation as if you were there. Like in today’s reading, where Moses in his farewell speech to the nation is told by God to tell the people, ‘Remember the day you stood before the Lord your God at Horeb … You came near and stood at the foot of the mountain while it blazed with fire to the very heavens, with black clouds and deep darkness. Then the Lord spoke to you out of the fire’ (Deuteronomy 4:10–12). For an Israelite to remember was to be able to stand with the nation, see the fire behind the darkness on top of Mt Sinai and hear the Lord give his commands … not least that beautiful gospel beginning, ‘I am the Lord your God who brought you out of Egypt, the land of slavery’ (Exodus 20:2).
This healthy spiritual imagination feeds faith. Elsewhere in today’s reading, God promises that Israel’s observance of the Lord’s command will get the neighbouring nations’ attention. ‘What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the Lord our God is near us whenever we pray to him?’ (Deuteronomy 4:7).
When we go to the Lord’s Supper because Jesus said, ‘Do this in remembrance of me’, is it any less than being with him in the upper room the night before he died? Seeing him holding the bread and the cup and telling us, ‘This is my body … this is my blood’. We have no doubt our God is near us, bringing that blessing into the here and now. Answering prayer. Delivering us from slavery (to sin), just as he did the first Passover – of which the Lord’s Supper, on that Passover night before he died, was another remembrance.
Faith is a gift from God (John 6:29). Nurture your faith in his word. For remember how much receiving the kingdom of God like a little child meant to Jesus (Luke 10:16)?
Holy Spirit, Jesus tells us that you will take what is his and make it known to us. Keep feeding our faith, and don’t let our spiritual imaginations grow cold that we can no longer receive your kingdom like a little child. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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