Monday, January 4, 2016

The Gift of Imagination

Dear Friends,

This year, the Magi and the crew of the starship Intrepid travel together. Early in the history of Star Trek, advertising proclaimed that the story was about a group of adventurers that “goes boldly where no one has gone before.”  For both confessed Trekkies and closet Trekkies, this declaration has great appeal.  So many of us go exactly  where others have gone before. We follow other people’s patterns. Sure, we make some adjustments, but to go where no one has gone before takes imagination and courage, and all too often, we deny we have these qualities.

God works through the human imagination. What we cannot imagine, we cannot expect. What we cannot imagine, we cannot do. If we can imagine a brave new world by following a star, then we can travel on in hope to a new geographic, meteorological, psychological, intellectual , faith- inspired place.

The Magi hold out to us the gift of imagination – to pursue wellness, commitment in our relationships, the promotion of peace, and the implosion of the cycle of violence and hatred.

A second gift is the courage the Magi had to leave their citadels of learning, to risk travel into the unknown and to trust their instincts that following the star would lead them to the king. After their unsatisfying meeting with Herod, the Magi were forced to ask: “Where do we go from here?”  In the end, they went to Christ, the seemingly obscure child in even more obscure Bethlehem. They had the eyes to recognize Him, and offered Him gifts fit for royalty  Then they dared to go home by another route.

As we encounter God here and now or wherever we go, dare we to ask:  “Where do we go from here after we’ve met our God?”

Just as Star Trek is not about one person’s remarkable story, the  Magi  sought  Christ together. The feast of the Epiphany, which we just celebrated  tells us unequivocally that God has plenty to give and it’s available to all. All are coheirs and sharers in the promise.

To our neighbor and to the stranger, let us be bearers of help, nourishment and affection. Let us embrace the refugee and the people from whom we are estranged – people who are at first glance different from us.  All people belong to God, and find God however they can. We are in this spaceship together.

This New Year, the Toys Are Us store at Times Square is dark. Gone.  History.  Too expensive  to stay in this noticeable place.  To borrow their name, the Magi Are Us. And we are not gone, although we might have some sense of the cost.  Waiting to be released in us this year are the imagination and courage to not abandon the star, and to embrace the Holy Child waiting in every person we meet. In faith, this year, let us go boldly where no one has gone before.

~Sister Joan Sobala