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By Pastor Paul Gauche

Today’s Word: ‘Imagination’ as in… it’s really okay to use it.

My late friend Eugene Peterson will be remembered forever as “the Author of the Message Bible.” He chafed at that description. I can still hear him saying, “I’m not the author. God is the author.”

Eugene was a wonderful pastor with a working knowledge of six ancient languages. He went at the original biblical texts with a commitment to integrity, a passion for the overall ‘Message’ and something we risk losing if we’re not careful: imagination.

Eugene was a founding pastor of Christ Our King Presbyterian Church in Bel Air, Maryland. During his 29 years there, he discovered that the people in the congregation often “didn’t understand what they were reading.” So verse by verse, chapter by chapter, book by book, Eugene translated the scriptures from their original languages into beautiful, imaginative language that the people could understand: The Message. Eugene taught me to appreciate not only what was written in ink on the pages, but also what was below the ink and in between the pages.

That’s where my imagination sparks.

Two weeks ago I was feeling as dry as a donkey jawbone in the sand. So I opened up to the ancient book of 1 John. With permission to imagine from Eugene, here’s what I discovered:

“Let me tell you – we’re all telling you, this is the bold declaration we’re announcing to you and the whole world: that which was, is and always will be – that which from the very moment light was spoken into existence, covering every inch of the creation, what we each have heard with our own two ears, what we each have seen with our own two eyes, what we each have touched with our own two hands concerning the word of life, the Word of Life – we announce, we declare to you what we have seen, heard, touched, even tasted and smelled, so that our fellowship with each other, with God, with Christ himself may bring us uncontainable joy. And by experiencing this joy together we know what “complete” really means: completely joy filled.”

Now that’s using the imagination!


Paul Gauche is the Pastor of Life Transitions at Prince of Peace. His posts are part of his #100days50words project, where be blogs about a different word each day. You can follow his project on Instagram (@pgauche), or on his blog, Thriving Rhythms.

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