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By:  T. Gustafson

As a boy, John Lennon attended church far more than the other future Beatles. Yet he wrote the most despairing and cynical lyrics of the four. Perhaps the hypocrisy he witnessed in the church soured his mood.

“Imagine” is as close to authentic hope as Lennon gets. It’s a soothing hymn to the utopia of freedom from all kinds of things-including “freedom” from belief in the supernatural. He envisions a life when we finally get our collective act together and put each other first.

But his proposed philosophy will only disappoint us in the end. Ironically, Lennon omitted the one Source we really need. Without God, our loftiest dreams are sure to be dashed. If our faith is in each other, we’re doomed to disillusionment.

Lennon apparently didn’t know it, but he yearned for a world that God actually promises. “The creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay” (Romans 8:21).

In the meantime, Jesus has called us to live by His standards of holiness and love. Imagine . . .

  • a world where everyone lived by the Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12).
  • if we truly followed Jesus’ command in Luke 10:25-28 to love God with everything you’ve got and to “love your neighbor as yourself.”
  • if we all lived up to the spirit of God’s Law-not just the letter (Matthew 5:21-30).

That day is coming! Until then, it’s best to admit our inability to live out Jesus’ standards in our own strength. That’s the place to start. Imagine a church where we live truly transparent lives before a watching world. Our weakness, perfected in Christ’s strength. Imagine!

Imagine there’s no heaven.
It’s easy if you try.
No hell below us,
above us only sky.


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