Visitors come from around the world. They sit quietly, and often leave behind flowers in the shape of a peace sign. Sometimes they use strawberries rather than flowers. It is called, in fact, the Strawberry Fields memorial – and it is right across the street from the apartment building where musician John Lennon lived.
John Lennon is the one who wrote a song called “Imagine.” It was a defining song for my generation. I grew up among 1960's dreamers, among a generation that tried to imagine a world of unity and peace. We had parents and ministers who heard the first line (“Imagine there’s no heaven”) and stopped listening to the rest of the tune. What they missed is what John Lennon was trying to envision, in his irreverent way. He could imagine a time and place when religious people stopped killing one another, countries gave up on war, and rich and poor were no longer divided.
Ironically this peace song stirred up death threats against the composer. John Lennon was gunned down at forty years old, right across the street from where the Central Park memorial announces the word: “Imagine.”
As for me, I’m not ready to give up on heaven. I want to imagine as faithfully as I can that there is such a place, and I imagine you do, too. It taps into the great hopes of the human race, both of this life and the life to come. If we believe that God is perfectly good, it’s not a far reach to imagine that wherever God dwells is a place of perfect goodness.
No more hurt, no more destruction. God’s children live in complete delight, to the delight of their Maker. Can you imagine something like that?