Sunday, 2 October 2011

An Observatory without a Telescope

Post by Ash

Like many churches, we spend  a lot of time thinking about how best to serve the spiritual, physical and  practical needs of those in our community. We tend therefore to focus for much of our time on the future, and planning for that as carefully as we can.

It was therefore very refreshing to be reminded of some very fine and inspiring advice from the much loved John Mellor, a long-standing supporter of our church,who very sadly died last year. Found amongst his papers were various writings used by him many years ago when he led services.A loving, talented, and creative man, he believed passionately that `imagination` was a gift to be treasured; for him  it was a way to people`s hearts , a route possibly towards unlocking spirituality. Churches even should take heed if they were not to stagnate.

His words below remain as relevant today, as when they were written.

"Imagination is the ability to dream dreams, to visualise concepts and new ideas; to be creative, to have a thought and visualise it in a tangible way. It is the ability to simply suppose !

It is a fundamental part of human life-a positive thought process and a source of inspiration.

Imagination came spontaneously to us as children, but we have been taught rationalism is to be desired above imagination. We need to acknowledge the importance of thinking and experiencing images.........

The soul without imagination is what an observatory would be without a telescope .Our belief is stimulated by our imagination.

The gift of imagination can release in us a whole flood of ideas, giving us the ability to look beyond our own situation, to extend our understanding and help us to discover the new. Jesus excelled in the use of imagination. A grain of mustard seed, the Prodigal Son, and the Good Samaritan, to name just a few.

It is through imagination that we form our pictures of God. It is a precious gift and this imagination helps us to reach out to a God who is ultimately beyond our reason and our own understanding, but who on the other hand is as close and near to us as the very air we breathe.........

Small congregations need to use their imagination-to look at the seemingly impossible-to dream dreams. It is our imagination that enables new possibilities to open up to us.

This is the time for audacious imagination. Where there is no vision people perish.We need to respect the past and learn from it, but a society which develops an attitude that the future has nothing better to bring is a society in decline......

When imagination is stifled by bureaucracy or inflexibility, we get mediocracy which neither satisfies our own physical or aesthetic needs. All too often we are caught up by then systems that paralyse our creativity that do not allow flexibility.

We who are made in the image of the divine, have a spark of the divine within us.It is there to be discovered within ourselves and it is there to be recognised in others........

A life of dreams is better than a life of regrets-hold them tight, for tomorrow they will be gone."

Words by John Mellor.

With grateful thanks to Bess Mellor, John`s widow, for giving the papers to us from which these words have been abridged, and to Graham Williams for placing these thoughts back before us in his moving service of tribute to John, held at New Meeting House, October 2nd , 2011.

1 comment:

  1. Imagination is a dangerous tool, a shocking device for trampling down the truth as we belive we know it. It is a challenge to respectable sensibilities. It refutes the boundaries we sacredly hold. It denies us the privilege of saying this far and no more. Imagination is not just a step of the mind beyond the wall we build around us: imagination is also the first step in action and enactment, the first step in the trusting of something aside from our reason and long bound instincts. Having set ourselves going on deep rutted roads or solid rails, the last thing we may really want is imagination. We like to admire it, but to use it! Are we ready for such a dangerous tool?

    On the other hand, how many belief systems founder because those who may accept wonderful concepts that inspire lack or reject the imagination to live by them and take to them further? Then sigh with relief.