I loved his idea to "Re-imagine" God:
What if we put up a picture of a cross somewhere visible – sanctuary, narthex, fellowship hall, whatever. The key is that it is surrounded by bulletin board material or poster board or something that folks can put pictures around. And over the next few weeks we invite folks to put pictures around the cross that help them imagine who God is. People might draw pictures, but they might just as easily cut them out from magazines. No explanations are necessary. They just keep putting up pictures until we have a collection of images that together gives witness to how we imagine God at work in our world and lives. These pictures can be traditional – perhaps they’ll put up different pictures of the cross, or painting of the holy family – or untraditional – maybe a harried mom or dad taking care of children. The issue isn’t getting it “right,” it’s trying to articulate how we imagine God at work in our lives.
Will some of the pictures occasion conversation, even cause a stir? I hope so. Because that’s the point: these pictures aren’t meant to define God – as if we could! – rather they are invitations for us to learn how to articulate our own faith and questions and imagination about God. You see, I think that as valuable as orthodoxy is for keeping the church moving more or less in one direction more or less together, it can also stifle the imagination and leave a lot of people out of the picture. And I’m interested in giving our folks a chance to develop some confidence that they can imagine and give witness to the God they’ve come to know through their life in the church and in the world.
So I took the idea and ran with it, handing out these instructions:
IMAGINE WHO GOD IS
“How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!” ---Luke 13:34
David Lose asks: “If Jesus can describe himself and God as a mother hen, can we not also employ a variety of images to describe God?”
We hear that God is:
---as a eagle hovers over its young (Deut 32:10-11)
---like a bear robbed of her cubs (Hosea 13:8)
---as one who will cry out like a woman in labor (Isa 42:14)
---as of a father’s only son (John 1:14)
You are invited throughout Lent to put pictures around the cross that help you imagine who God is drawn, cut out, or photographed. No explanation necessary.
I finished the display Wednesday afternoon, and put up a couple of images to get things going. Now it's up to the congregation.
I'll let you know what happens!