Using Your Imagination for Holy Week

Good Friday is here, and as I read the story of Christ’s sacrifice this morning, I tried to enter into the story in my imagination. My church even created a short meditation based on today’s Lenten reading to help us connect to each vital character, action, and emotion.

I believe imagination is vital for us as we attempt to process and connect to scriptures. I grew up in the church, and so these stories won’t automatically hit me with emotion or wonder, even though they I feel they should. Usually, those feelings come in responses to powerful sermons, works of art, or even music.

I used to think these things could be manipulative, but now I see them as wicks that spark our imaginations and remind us of what we believe. It is like a romantic gesture in a marriage. We always know that we love and are loved, but those moments bring back the initial, fluttery feeling of falling in love.

This is why Aslan, the fictional lion, can still give me the chills that, sadly, scripture doesn’t always trigger. It’s why, I’m sure, some churches are decorated in stained glass depictions of Christ. It’s why some, during this season, replicate the crucifixion by standing at crosses in front of their churches. It’s why we have to return to church and community and scripture again and again to remember what we know. And it’s why, in preparation for Easter, I have to sit and think and remember what all this means.

Music helps take me into those places in my imagination. One album I have loved to repeat during this season for the past few years is The Resurrection Letters albums by Andrew Peterson, which now has an anthology of all of the volumes. The first few songs bring me into the moment of Christ’s death and final words. On Easter, I wake to “His Heart Beats,” a triumphant song that shakes me with the reality of resurrection. The rest of the songs are responses to this wonderful news and what it means for us.

I encourage you to listen to this album–or to do whatever practice is helpful for you–to stir your imaginations in preparation for Easter.

I would love to know what you do during this season that help you appreciate the significance of Christ’s sacrifice. Do you have other traditions, music, films, or books that awaken your imagination? Do you practice Lent to give time to reflection? I would love to hear from you in the comments!

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