It was remarkable and rather awesome.
We were driving along a winding valley between gently rolling hills, under a smothering blanket of low cloud, when suddenly, far above the hills, a small window formed in the clouds. And through this unexpected opening, where we thought to catch a glimpse of a small patch of sky, we were stunned to see the sun shining on an enormous, snow-capped mountain peak, towering thousands of feet above us. The mountain was massive, yet appeared to hang suspended there, almost as if we were looking through a portal to an entirely different country; another realm.
We had been driving under the this huge mountain range, and yet – absorbed as we were by the mundane scenery around us – we simply had no idea. We had no perspective.
Perspective is something we need to strive to gain and to retain. Like Old Covenant believers, we need to grasp that we truly are ‘strangers and foreigners… looking for a better country’. (Heb 11:13-16) Yet in the ordinary rhythms of life, it’s hard to see beyond the immediate. To comprehend the far greater purposes and the far more awesome destiny that our God has planned for us, and for this earth; to remain awake to the unseen ‘mountain above the clouds’ that dwarfs the ‘shadowlands’ (as CS Lewis put it) through which we currently journey.
Spirit of Jesus, how can I cultivate an awareness of this unseen country, this realm that is more truly ‘real’ than all the things I can physically see?
I think I hear you whisper the word ‘imagination’.
I need to be unafraid to allow my Spirit-infused imagination to soar; to take time – to stubbornly make time – to dream. To dream of the day when mortality is swallowed up by life, and the earth is filled with the glorious presence of the resurrected King with his resurrected people. To dream of that country; to imagine that realm; to explore in my mind’s eye that reality. And to learn – like Jesus – to inhabit it.
To live as a citizen of two worlds, recognising that the unseen one is primary and the most truly real.
And where my imaginings are deficient – which they surely are – it will be because they are too limited, too constrained. Insufficiently glorious.
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than we all we ask or imagine…to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus.” (Eph 3:20-21)