What’s your Dream?
Whenever you ask a child what they want to be when they grow up, the possibilities are endless. You can see it in their eyes. Sometimes, it takes them a minute to settle on whichever job strikes their fancy. Other times, they’ll spit it out just as soon as you finish asking the question. Kids dream big.
Somewhere along the way, though, our big dreams turn into regulated goals and to-do lists. Today, let’s leave the black and white of lists and obligations and goals. Today, let’s enter the multilayered, technicolor world of dreams.
God in Art
Each week, we’ll post an image or artwork for you to reflect on.
Look at this picture. What do you see here? What do you notice?
God in Scripture
We’ll give you a scripture to reflect on. All scriptures are from the Common English Bible unless otherwise noted.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
‘See, the home of God is among mortals.
He will dwell with them;
they will be his peoples,
and God himself will be with them;
he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away.’
And the one who was seated on the throne said, ‘See, I am making all things new.’ Also he said, ‘Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.’ Then he said to me, ‘It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life.
In our tradition (the UCC) we believe that God is still speaking. So while we look to the scriptures for God’s revelation, we also listen for God’s voice elsewhere.
by Langston Hughes
To fling my arms wide
In some place of the sun,
To whirl and to dance
Till the white day is done.
Then rest at cool evening
Beneath a tall tree
While night comes on gently,
Dark like me-
That is my dream!
To fling my arms wide
In the face of the sun,
Dance! Whirl! Whirl!
Till the quick day is done.
Rest at pale evening…
A tall, slim tree…
Night coming tenderly
Black like me.
God in Music
Each week, we’ll give you a song to listen to while reflecting on that week’s theme.
It’s a song many of us remember from our childhood–one about the power of imagination. Today, hear it as an invitation for you to dream again. What is you’re dreaming of?
Each week, you’ll find some thoughts about that week’s theme. These aren’t meant to be final thoughts or decisive ones. Just a starting place for your own thinking to journey from in the following days.
I used to be afraid of Revelation. The Beast and lake of fire and sulfur were largely responsible for that. But more than the scary images was the unhinged-ness of it all. It struck me as a maniacal tirade–deep and distressing. But when I stopped looking at it and started reading it considering the context it was written in, it became one of my favorite books of the Bible.
Revelation, also known as The Apocalypse of John, is part of a particular genre of literature called apocalypse. It starts with a vision–a dream of sorts. You see, the early church was being persecuted. They were centuries from becoming the state religion of Rome, and the Romans (and particularly the emperor) had no use for them. And so, Christianity was practially driven underground. John’s vision, then, isn’t about the end of the world, it’s about the end of a tyrannical oppression that targeted the faithful. And all of it centers around a dream.
At nearly every funeral I preside at, I find a way to work Revelation 21 into the service. Of all the scriptures to read on such a sad occasion, it’s the one that fills me with such hope largely because it inspires my own imagination–it jump starts my dreaming. John wasn’t the only one longing for a day when “mourning and crying and pain will be no more.” I think that’s a dream we all share. I read this passage and realize that I’m part of the Faithful he’s writing to, that I’ve stepped into that river of faith that runs through time and around the world. And that together, the dream we share can become a reality.
Dreams, though, don’t mean much unless we work to make them come true. You see, when we’re writing our story (or re-writing it, as the case may be), we have an opportunity to do just that–to make our dream, our vision, a reality. But first, we have to figure out just what that dream is.
So, we end where we began: What’s your dream?
The Rev. Jonathan Chapman
Pastor and TeacherThe Rev. Jonathan Chapman graduated from Candler School of Theology, Emory University, in May 2010. He is currently pursuing his Doctor of Ministry with an emphasis in Biblical Witness and Proclamation.
He joined Westfield in October of 2012 and was officially installed as Pastor and Teacher in May of 2013. He was selected to be a part of the Next Generation Leadership Initiative, a program sponsored by the Pension Boards of the United Church of Christ that works with young clergy committed to parish ministry through a decade-long relationship. He has a passion for visual worship (a topic he blogs regularly about at revjonchapman.com) and married his husband, Greg, in December of 2014 at Westfield.