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Communion & Imagination

Yesterday I read J. B. Phillips little book from 1956, Appointment With God: Some Thoughts on Holy Communion. Phillips is best known for his interpretive translation of the New Testament. He was an Anglican priest so I knew I would have some differences with him on this topic, but I have appreciated his writing ability so I was intrigued by the book when I saw it. In the end I was not disappointed. I plan t post a few quotes over the next few days.

In this post, I will just draw attention to an introductory comment Phillips made. He mentioned that he wrote the book “to show how, for Christians who are prepared to use their minds and imaginations, it [communion] can deepen and enrich their spiritual lives” (vii). This comment grabbed me. Surely this exposes one reason why so many today fail to see the value or to appreciate the wonder of communion. We are not training people in the biblical value of and use of the imagination. You can’t read the imagery of the Psalms, the prophets, the parables of Jesus or Revelation and miss the use of words to stir the imagination. Too many evangelicals are scared of the imagination, imagining it to be in opposition to historical fact. But there need be no contradiction here. We have abandoned one important aspect of the mind and are the poorer for it. We desperately need to reclaim a sanctified imagination.

(previous post on preaching & imagination)

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