Friday, 8 October 2010

Imagine all the people?

When in October 1971 John Lennon released his most popular solo album 'Imagine' the single of the same name quickly became his signature song and remains an enduring plea for a world of harmony and peace. In the chorus Lennon assumes that people will say he’s a dreamer and perhaps he is quite right, because it’s hard to imagine a world where there’s no countries or possessions.
But in Lennon’s dream there is no place for religion either. This is an understandable perspective when we look at the harm brought to the world by men and women acting in the name of religion. Wars have been fought, truth has been suppressed, ideas of Heaven and Hell have been used to manipulate social control: all this and worse may have been perpetrated by those who profess belief in God.

But to my mind religion, or better, faith in God, has also been a force for good in the world because believers could imagine a better way of living than that which they saw around them. When the ancient prophets spoke of a time when the wolf and the lamb would lie down together they were encouraging people to imagine just that: and to live with one another as if such alternative realities were actually possible. When Jesus brought all their hopes to life, bringing good news to the poor, the sick and the oppressed, it was not just a dream he had, the reality of what he did so upset the Powers that Be that they killed him for it. Some things are still worth dying for, John.

So while I want to live with no need of greed or hunger

With all the people sharing all the world as one

if it is to happen then I must not just dream about it

I must act and live not out of fear but in love

And maybe you will join me

Dear God help us to imagine a world

Where we do on earth

as it is done in heaven

And help us to believe

that such a world can be here today


No comments: