Imagination is powerful. Just yesterday, someone told me about the next innovation in kitchen appliances: a refrigerator that, with a push of a button and insertion of a K-cup, brews your morning coffee. Voilà! One less appliance cluttering up your counter!
Imagination is a gift that comes from being made in God’s image. Can you imagine God’s imagination!?!
- The earth was without form and void; and darkness covered the face of the deep. Then, light. (Genesis 1:1)
- I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. (Genesis 9:13)
- A little child shall lead them. (Isaiah 11:6)
God’s answers – God’s acts – are pretty much never what we would expect. God’s innovations of love and care are always far beyond the expected or customary. God’s visions and dreams are rich and compelling.
- Dry bones coming to life.
- All creation in harmony.
- A baby boy saving humankind.
Our Advent celebrations will be a time of challenging our imagination – to reach for God’s imagination for us and for God’s world.
Malaria is a killer. In 2007, the United Methodist Church was invited to form a partnership with the Gates Foundation, The UN Foundation and the National Women’s Basketball League to accomplish a huge dream: end deaths from malaria in Africa. Imaginations stretched, and RUMC joined with others to imagine a world free of this dreaded disease.
At that time, roughly the equivalent of 2 planeloads of people died every day in Africa from this preventable disease.
In less than ten years, we are almost there.
The death rate from malaria in Africa has dropped significantly already, and with the addition to the program of medication and public education, it is expected that malaria will be eradicated in just a few years.
During this time of anticipation, Advent, we will pray daily for our sisters and brothers who live in fear of a mosquito’s sting and raise offerings to combat the disease.
In the first week of December, you will receive a letter inviting you to make a special offering for Christmas. That money will be used as it usually is, in support of the ministries of RUMC. On Christmas Eve, everyone will be invited to make an offering for Imagine No Malaria. Your church leaders have imagined a significant step in faith: that is, all of the Christmas Eve “plate* offering” will be sent to this global ministry.
Christmas Eve is a very special opportunity to reach men, women and children who visit us with the message of God’s love sent in the form of a baby who is the Light of the World – and to give them an inkling of whether the church they choose to attend is alive with imagination or plodding along. We want our visitors to imagine the church in witness and service to the world rather than focused only on its own needs. I am praying that this “business-definitely-not-as-usual” act will connect with those visiting and that they will be inspired to connect – or reconnect – with a faith community where they will be fed and nurtured every week.
I hope you will be part of this journey of prayer and love for our sisters and brothers here and across the globe.
*Plate offerings are the cash and checks that come from givers who do not have assigned envelope numbers, usually visitors and guests.