There is one thing about having a few minutes to myself
that I wouldn’t miss for the world –
time to sit and let my imagination run wild.
Well, perhaps wild isn’t the word –
just time to let ideas and images play in your mind until,
suddenly, you see something in a new way.
I was always told off for day-dreaming as a child –
too many chores to be done!
But as I went to collect the water in the morning –
or stood with my hands up to the elbows in bread dough –
well, it was easy to let my imagination go.
I might be going to the well to collect water – but, in my imagination,
I was Miriam going to the Nile to check up on baby Moses –
ready to rescue him at a moment’s notice if he was in real danger!
I might be kneading dough for Mary and Lazarus –
but, in my imagination, I was preparing the meal for the angels who visited Sarah.
I would build up the picture in my imagination –
until I could even smell the atmosphere. I would imagine what I would do – and say – and I was far braver in my imagination than I ever am outside it….
Or rather I used to be…
Jesus and I used to have these wonderful conversations – as you probably know.
As far as everyone else was concerned,
I was just Martha – chief cook and bottle-washer!
But to Jesus – oh, I could be Queen of the Nile – Esther saving her people –
Ruth promising to go wherever Naomi led – I could be anything.
He never laughed – well, not at me – though often with me – as we realised
that maybe I was going a bit too far along the Queen of the Nile bit!
But what He did that I’d never thought of doing,
was to use my day-dreams to learn about myself –
and to listen to what they might be telling me.
He showed me that sometimes they left me feeling stronger –
and more joyful – and at peace – and full of energy – all at the same time!
These, He said, showed that I was at rights with myself and with God.
At other times, of course, they left me feeling dissatisfied –
and out-of-sorts – and, sure enough,
He said that that was because I wasn’t at right with myself and with God.
And sometimes, I could be feeling frustrated about something –
and not know quite what the matter was – and He would suggest
I spent some time just day-dreaming about some incident that He’d suggest.
I never knew how He decided –
but it might be thinking about Mary
when the angel turned-up to say that she was to bear the Son of God –
or it might be one of the healings He’d done – just about anything…
It might take a few attempts – but quite often –
as I let the story build up in my imagination,
I’d start to get glimpses of what was really going on inside me –
and where things might be going wrong between me and God.
But what surprised me most was – the change in me.
I’m not sure even now that I can explain it.
Somehow, day-dreaming about Mary’s “yes” and Ruth following Naomi –
and all the other things I imagined -somehow, they began to change me.
While Jesus was with us – it was easy to be confident and brave –
but on that Friday – well, I surprised myself…
It was as if He’d been training me for the day when I’d have to go and be
there to help His mother and the others prepare Him for burial…
to stand up and be counted -and not hide away – too busy to go…
there was a Passover Meal to cook remember…
It was as if I practised in my imagination all the things I would need
to follow Him when I couldn’t see Him – or touch Him…
Even after He returned to the Father –
it was as if I could find Him in my imagination –
just to sit and let something of His story come into my head –
and then work with it ….and see what He taught me through it…
Drinking from the Wellspring
Many people day-dream – but it’s often just a series of unconnected thoughts. Take time to try Martha’ method. Find time and space where you won’t be disturbed and choose a story from the Bible. As you start, ask God – Jesus – the Spirit – to guide your thoughts and to teach you – and then let yourself create the scene – as accurately as you can. Try to imagine the sounds – the sights – the smells – everything you can. And then, imagine that you are there in the story…what do you and Jesus say to each other – what do you do? When it feels complete – just talk to Jesus about what has happened – and ask Him to show you what He wants you to learn from it…
© 200X Wellspring
This is the last of a series of nine posts using one’s imagination to get inside a biblical character to make him or her come alive for listeners or readers. It is a way of preaching I have seldom tried, but I have seen it effectively done. Martha’s Cupboard is a wonderful introduction or reminder of some very basic spiritual practices.]
Wellspring is a Liturgy and Spirituality website in the United Kingdom. They have a variety of materials that may touch and inspire you. Please check out their website for yourself by clicking here.