Live in a big kingdom- there is much to honor there

By Colette Tennant

I want to encourage all of you to live in a bigger kingdom; you can do this by taking your liberal arts education seriously. It’s important, whatever your major is, that you’re a well-rounded, educated person.

Tennant encourages students to think of life like a zoo, don’t look at just one animal- experience all of God’s abundance.

You will live a richer, fuller life. You will be a better business woman if you know about art and can talk fluently about some of the world’s great masterpieces. You will be a better teacher if you’ve ever tried to write a poem. You really will.

Let me illustrate the important role of the imagination by telling you about a mishap I had while directing children’s choir at my church. I wrote a series of children’s Christmas programs for our choir.

All of them featured 3 little angels in various predicaments at Christmas. The first musical was called 3 Little Angels, about three little angels who were asked to go tell the shepherds about Jesus’ birth. But one of the little angels was afraid of sheep, one was afraid of the dark, and one was afraid of shepherds.

At one practice, the kids were reading through a scene where an angel was supposed to touch a star. Right when we got to that line, a little boy named Gavin who was a 7-year-old dressed in a navy blue three-piece suit, shot his hand into the air. When I called on him, he said very earnestly, “Teacher Colette, an angel can’t touch a star. If an angel would touch a star, she would explode.”

After he said that, the kids looked pretty upset, thinking about one of our little angels exploding, so we had to have a big talk about the imagination. Gavin, apparently, hadn’t taken many trips into the imagination’s big kingdom.

In Alice in Wonderland, there is a scene where Alice is talking to the Queen of Hearts about impossible things —

“Alice laughed: “There’s no use trying,” she said; “one can’t believe impossible things.”

“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

Doesn’t the Bible ask us to believe “impossible” things?

A ninety year old woman and a hundred year old man have a baby, and their offspring will outnumber the stars!  Imagine it! A boy kills a giant with a sling shot? Can you imagine? A virgin gives birth? God sent his only Son Jesus to die for our sins? Three days later Jesus was resurrected from the grave? We believe these “impossible things” not just with our rational minds. We imagine them.

Francis Schaeffer writes, “Being made in the image of God, I can go out in imagination beyond the stars. This is not only the Christian, but every man. Every man is made in the image of God. . . . [and he goes on to write] “Thus the Christian may have fantasy and imagination without being threatened.”

You know how scientists can tell when ancient people lived somewhere? They look for art. For instance, the earliest men to live in North America left cliff drawings in the desert.

And Jesus, in the New Testament, didn’t just give us a list of rules to live by. He gave us stories. Jesus, the Greatest Poet, could have just said, “God loves you,” but think of his story of the Prodigal son, how it shows the abundance of God’s love and forgiveness.

So have a sense of wonder for God’s abundance. When you go to the zoo don’t just look at one animal. Try to see as many animals as you can – the river otters, and the giraffes, and the lions, the parrots, and the polar bears, and the zebras, and on and on. God wants you to notice the abundance he has placed around you, not just in your major area of study, but all the wonders in His big kingdom. Look around. Take it in. Thank Him for giving you an imagination, for making you in His image. Soak up the kingdom of God’s abundance. There is so much to honor there.