“Communities are to be distinguished,” says Benedict Anderson, “by the style in which they are imagined.” The church is an imagined community. It is constituted in specific ways through the meanings it has been given over time by those who were here before us. What kind of church has our historical, corporate imagination produced over the decades? How do we see our role in the church? Are we in mission to the world or giving most of our time and money to maintenance work? This is not a negative dualism because the church needs both, but needs them to be balanced.
If we are going to imagine our church as different, Scripture and prayer will need to be the source of Christian imagination. We are not likely to be that easily convinced because Scripture seems so boring and prayer so passive. How can we imagine a church from Scripture and prayer?
Luke imagines the church in today’s Gospel reading. The church Luke imagines begins with the words of Jesus: Pray the Lord of the harvest to send more laborers to the harvest.