The Shema and the Imagination

(notes on the sanctification of the imagination)

The Shema prayer said daily by the Jewish community–behold oh Israel The Lord your God is one…

…implies a worldful of implications! And specifically in the area of our imaginations!

One, is that we, being made in His Image, are meant to be a unified, integrated expression. We too are meant to be whole or one, as symbols or image bearers of God Himself! Another area the reality of God’s holism effects is His desire for cities and nations to be a whole expression of Himself. Because He is one, He creates things to be one.

Out of the rest of God’s own Being, comes all of creation. God is one in Himself. We, in His Image, are meant to be whole or one as well. Our cities and nations are also meant to be one or integrated expressions. God’s oneness means then that the cultural aspect of a city’s identity is meant to be integrated with and attached to, and flowing out from, its core identity. Just as in ourselves, our creativity is meant to flow from our core identity. so also, the cultural lives of cities are meant to flow from the core identity of that particular city.

God is unified but expresses aspects of Himself in diverse ways. Just as each person has many aspects but gathered around a core identity; each city has many parts which express a core identity; and each nation the same. Many facets, but one diamond! So it is perfectly in God, and imperfectly in us, and our cities and nations.

To reattach our creative aspects to our core identity; to bring our imaginations “home” as Henri Neowen puts it, is part of the restoration of Reality into His Image. This is true on a personal and collective level. God communicates into and with the entire person, including their symbolic nature. Again, He is one, so His emotional life is not separated from His Thoughts, Perceptions etc. The imagination of God flows from His Core Being.

I am interested in ministering to the imaginations of people and places. I want to help that part of themselves “come home”.

When we come to the issue of the imagination, we see that this part of self, is also accepted, celebrated and known and loved by The Father. We are “entirely” wonderfully made, as David wrote. Jesus wants to incarnate into the whole of our lives including our imaginations! He redeemed the whole self, not just one part. God is one–He desires to make us one! His salvation and sanctification is for and into and over the whole of a person, including their symbolic aspects! This is also true of His all of His Creation. He does not partially save, nor does He partially sanctify. Though the sanctification process is gradual, He will not stop until He is fully incarnated Lord over all!

Often, in Christian thinking, this area of the imagination is somehow not included in the salvation and sanctification process. But why would the God of the universe, only redeem and heal one aspect of us? The symbolic aspect is also under Christ’s Lordship! He is the Lord over dreams, images, and all symbolic expression, for He is Lord over the symbolic dimension of Reality itself! His Lordship does not just stop when it gets to that realm.

Of course we are broken, and in process, but He has claimed us and is restoring us into this wonderful Oneness. Through Christ, we are becoming–in Him–the exact expression of His Likeness. This is one of the gifts of Jesus–our personal and collective restoration to the exact symbolic expression we were meant to broadcast. This is true individually and collectively. So our city is also being made whole in the area of the imagination. Her symbols are being reattached to her core identity. So that she can be the exact expression which He intended her to be. If healing is to make whole (same root word), then this applies to the imagination of our cities as well.

Jesus Himself is renewing our imaginations, so that we may perceive as His Father perceives. Our image centers are being taught in His Spirit to see correctly. To see ourselves, our world, and His world through His Eyes. He is restoring our eyes so that we might see as He does, and symbolize the exact thing He desired to express.

The imagination, then, is also one of the areas of His incarnation. If we desire His Kingdom to come, we must be willing first to allow Him to fully come into our own imaginations, and then to labor with Him as He comes into the imaginations of our cities and nations. So that each may become His fullest expression. The poem He desires to pronounce.

The spiritual imagination:
When we pray, we “see” things. What do you see Jeremiah? An almond tree. You have seen rightly!” We see in the spirit, and we see in our humaness. He is able to show us how He sees us! It is not enough to have right thoughts, we also need right perception. We need to see how He sees!

God wants to give each of us a picture of ourselves which is true. This picture will help us incarnate that thing we were meant to be. Our goal is to become the exact expression He wanted to create about Himself. We are His symbols on earth. This is really our motivation for transformation. Sometimes, we need to see ourselves, or have an accurate symbol of ourselves before we can move towards a fuller incarnation of that image–ie often, symbol precedes full incarnation!

It is not just prophetic people, or artists, who need to have their symbolic aspects under the process of sanctification–we all do! Christ wants to be Lord over the whole person, as i said, and wants to incarnate into the whole person, including our imaginations. So, this is part of the process of growing up into The Head–His exact likeness! In short, the imagination is included in our relationship with God. And when it is, it can become some of the areas where we partner with Him in ushering the Kingdom into the imaginations of our cities and nations! Helping to heal the image of our planet!

Our spiritual perception needs to cleansed and baptized in Him in order to see more and more through His Eyes–even ourselves. A large problem for many people is that they cannot perceive even themselves accurately. If we cannot see ourselves from our true or spiritual imaginations (through His Eyes), how can we begin to see our cities and nations as He does. I think we must start there. Enter into our imagination and meet God there! Help us see ourselves accurately, and by extension our cities and nations. Come meet us in Your symbolic dimension! God you are one, help make us one, and then guide us as we help make Your Creation one. Amen.

Recent Posts

Midrash on the Psalms

Reading the Psalms again today (little midrashing for you today!), as I often do, as they seem like the center (and therefore centering parts of

Read More »