It connected me with memories of Martin Luther King Jr. and his inspiring "I Have a Dream" speech. With his vision of the future, he raised the conscience of the nation before God and the judgment seat of racial morality. With that speech, Martin Luther King Jr. changed expectations in America, maybe even the world. He gave the world a new vision.
A vision, dream, or plan of the future is vital to the life of every living human. Visions and dreams guide our life and invite us into the future.
The bible is full of dreams and visions. The people of Israel were liberated from Egypt and guided in the wilderness by a vision of the promised land. Jacob dreamed of wrestling with God and winning. The prophets guided God’s people in dark times with God’s visions of what could be, even in the face of despair and oppression. Mary dreamed of the birth of jesus. Jesus’ ministry was one guided by a vision of the kingdom of God, a place of radical justice, divine peace and resurrection hope. The bible as we have it concludes with the grand vision of the Revelation of John in which we are shown a grand dream of justice and hope, a world united and embraced in the love of God.
Today, now, we are invited to continue to dream and to have visions, both young and old, men and women together, male and female slaves! (this is another wonderful element present in Joel’s dream).
We live in a world where people do dare to dream that things can be different and work to enact that divine dream; a dream of a world where human beings live sustainably and in harmony with the natural world and in harmony and compassion with each other. The recent climate action protests were and are motivated and sustained by a passionate vision. When we act to try and being compassionate action to refugees we are motivated and moved by dreams which I believe have a divine source.
And you do not have to be a prophet or a hero or a public figure to have a dream. The prophet joel gave a promise from God that the gift of dreams and visions will be given to daughters, sons, old and young, even slaves. It is an inclusive dream.
We all have dreams and visions of our future, it is what calls us on into that future. It is that vision which gives us hope. But there is often a difference between our normal dreams and the Divine dreams that we have in partnership with God. The dreams and visions that Joel was promising were of the type that call us into God’s future. When this church burned to the ground 15 years ago a vision was required for something new to happen. And some of you dreamed that dream and worked through the sometimes-difficult challenges that brought this place into being ten years ago.
As a church we are called to continue to dream and vision together about how this place can be a part of God’s vision for us and for this community. And when we dream, we are called to use what I have heard called ‘divine imagination’. An imagination inspired by God’s grace, mercy and compassion.
When we vision and dream, we need to ask ourselves What difference does our vision make in the lives of others?