Monday

Tea Parties and Worship -- Taking Your Imagination for a Walk

I recently had the pleasure of watching a tiny girl host an imaginary tea party. 

With delicate movements, she skillfully filled each invisible glass with invisible tea. She doled out invisible cookies onto invisible plates and sampled her invisible delicacies with obvious delight. She said please and thank you to invisible guests and smiled charmingly at their silent answers. Her powers of imagination were astounding for one so young, and I was delighted to be invited to the soiree.

We expect children to use their imagination, and we recognize this as a mark of intellectual growth. Grownups, however, often set their imaginations aside. We choose to concentrate on the “real” world—the things we can see and touch. We forget there is a greater world beyond us.

Today, perhaps inspired by my recent tea party hostess, I dusted off my out-of-shape imagination and took it for a walk. We were responding to an invitation that read like this:

“Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an offering and come into his courts. Worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness; tremble before him, all the earth.” 

As we strolled down Psalm 96 Lane, my Host gently prompted me,

Let the heavens rejoice. 

I imagined what it might look like when the heavens rejoice.

In my mind’s eye I saw sunbeams shining from behind clouds like giant spotlights. I visualized the silent symphony of a yellow/orange sunrise dotted with black silhouettes of soaring geese. I pictured the extravagance of a setting sun painted with a hundred shades of pink and purple.

This is what it might look like when the heavens rejoice.

Let the earth be glad. 

I imagined what it feels like when the earth is glad. I suspect the sun shines warmly upon us, and the breeze blows sweet and refreshing across our faces. The fragrance of rain-dotted earth, flower-strewn paths, and rushing mountain streams fill our nostrils with sensory delights.

This is what it might feel like when the earth is glad.



Let the sea resound, and all that is in it. 

Resound means to ring with sound—loudly, boldly, extravagantly. When I picture a resounding sea, my ears echo with the noise of frothy waves breaking on rocky cliffs. I see a mammoth whale launching itself into the air in a powerful arc and crashing into the water with mighty splash. I picture pods of smiling dolphins dancing on their tales in a delicate, choreographed ballet, the air filled with their clicks, and chirps, and laughs.

This is what it might sound like when the sea resounds.

Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them. 

What might it look like when the fields and everything in them is jubilant? Jubilant means to be filled with joy, to exult in triumph and satisfaction. My mind’s eye sees miles of golden fields dipping and swaying as the wind keeps time with its wheat stalk baton. I see spotted fawns prancing and dancing with cotton-tailed bunnies. I watch as a flock of crows rise as one amidst a cacophony of flapping wings and noisy squawks. I see mighty elk rear back, tuck their heads, and connect with a crash that rattles their powerful antlers.

This is what it might look like when the fields are jubilant.

Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy. 

What might it sound like when the trees of the forest sing for joy? I picture a grove of yellow Aspen trees, their heart-shaped leaves jangling in the wind like a million topaz jewels. I see the massive redwoods bending their heads, whispering the secrets they’ve gathered over the centuries. I hear the cicadas, tree frogs, and nightingales singing us to sleep with their woodsy lullaby.

This is what it might sound like when the trees of the forest sing for joy.

“Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an offering and come into his courts. Worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness; tremble before him, all the earth. (Psalm 96:8-9)

When was the last time you worshiped the Lord? If it’s been a while, why not open your Bible to Psalm 96, take your imagination by the hand, and walk through the beauty of his holiness? And if your imagination needs a little jump start, spend some time with a child. There’s a very good reason their angels always see the face of God.


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