On my mantle there sits a group of black metal letters; standing about three inches high, they spell out “imagine.”
Not only are they there because imagine is one of my favorite words (like Louisa May Alcott, I like good strong words that mean something); they’re there to remind me to pray.
You see, I always have believed John Lennon’s song “Imagine” to be a kind of prayer. That might sound unconventional, even controversial, but bear with me.
The song begins:
Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today
Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace…
Lennon gets right to the crux of the things that divide us, the things that make us appear different from one another, the things that separate us into groups of us and them. But if there were no countries, there would be no borders, no need for walls, no need for wars, no us and them, only we, living life in peace.
“And no religion too…” Here is where it gets controversial, but again, bear with me.
When we consider religion to be particular systems of faith and worship, we can see our differences come in the ways we worship, the books we hold as sacred, and how we view our relationship with God. What the major religions have in common is a sense of community and what we were taught as “The Golden Rule” — to treat others as we would have them treat us.
Focus on that and the differences among Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and others fade to the background. Again, there is no longer us and them, only we, living life in peace.
The next verse:
Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people sharing all the world
The Bible is full of references to material possessions and the obstacles they can present to our relationship with God and others. We want, we want, we want, and we feel we have to keep up with the Kardashians. And once again we are separated; into the haves and the have nots. But in a world where there are no possessions, there would be no haves, no have nots, no us and no them, only we, sharing all the world.
And the chorus:
You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will be as one
And that is my prayer, that this is not just a dream, that some day, the world will be as one, in peace.