My dad used to sing around the house all the time when I lived at home. He knows about eight bars of every sunny pop song that has been written since the late ’40s. Whatever lyrics he doesn’t know, Dad just makes up on his own. I know some of his made-up songs better than I know the real versions.

Those songs still come to my mind, and sometimes get stuck there, when I turn on the radio or hear a song played in a restaurant or when someone says a phrase or a cliché that happens to also be a lyric. I have to smile when I accidentally sing Dad’s improved version instead of the actual lyric.

Alongside my dad’s singing, I also memorized a lot of Scripture verses. I wrote them on index cards, studied them at Sunday school, and thought about them during the day. For me, the words of the Bible became like those songs my dad used to sing.

Dad taught me to sing. Mom faithfully taught me Scripture. She invited me to memorize some favorite passages. Now the words are inside me. It’s not surprising, then, when the words of Psalm 103 come to my mind when I see a bald eagle on a trip out West. Or when I stand barefoot on the beach and think of Psalm 139, recalling how the millions of grains of sand are like the number of God’s thoughts. Or when I drive through the mountains and think of Psalm 104:32 when it says that God touches the mountains and they smoke.

Even before we have understanding, we have imagination. When we are young, we talk about imagination. But as adults, we trade imagination for pragmatism. We grow up into more rational, concrete ways of thinking. But in prayer and spiritual formation, imagination is essential for us to grow and move into closer conversation with God.

Scripture ...

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Send Out Your Light: The Illuminating Power of Scripture and Song
Send Out Your Light: The Illuminating Power of Scripture and Song
B&H Books
288 pp., 15.99
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