Saturday, November 3, 2012

Sermon for Nov 4, 2012; Deuteronomy 6:1-9

Rev. George Miller
Deuteronomy 6:1-9
“The Binding Truth”
Nov 4, 2012

The theme for this month is truth. What we know. How we know it. What it all means.

I’d like to start by sharing a quote from Oprah Winfrey: “God can dream a bigger dream for you than you could ever dream for yourself.”

Now, Hurricane Sandy has challenged some of our truths and some of our dreams. Although we are safe, many of our northern brethren are living a nightmare.

20 states have been affected. 62 people have died. 8 million are without electricity, entire towns in NJ are submerged, and those living below 39th St in NYC are in the dark. The scope of Sandy is still unfolding. (The above statements taken from Colbert Report, Oct 30, 2012).

So with all this factual information, what becomes our spiritual truth?

Should we say we’re helpless? Hopeless? In God’s eyes are we worthless?

Why do such things happen? Why does it seem that the older we get the more we lose and have taken away from us?

Maybe if God truly loved us, we would be sheltered, kept from all harms way.

These are the thoughts I had as reports flooded the airways, as I waited to hear from family, friends, and parishioners if they were safe, if they were sound.

If the beach my family visited, the places I worked, the restaurants my friends and I broke bread at still existed, or if they had been destroyed by the storm.

As the Holy Spirit would have it, I found some solace on Wednesday when my ‘Lil Brother and I went to see the movie “Hotel Transylvania.”

Like many children’s movies, it contained great truth wrapped in a playful package.

As the story goes, Count Dracula has a daughter named Mavis that he’s protective of. Aware that the world can be a dangerous place, he builds for her a hotel for monsters in which no human can harm them.

As Mavis grows older she dreams of leaving the hotel to see the world, but Dracula fearfully keeps her inside. Though she is safe, she is not free.

A series of humorous incidents happen in which a human finds his way in, Mavis falls in love and Dracula tries everything to keep them apart, from lies to deceit to threats.

Finally, the human runs off. In sadness, Mavis sits atop the hotel’s roof to sulk. Dracula tries to comfort her but Mavis says “Now I am just like you. I have no more dreams.”

It hurts Dracula to hear his daughter speak these words.

There was something about this scene that tugged at my heart, and I had an immediate thought: “Does God dream?”

I don’t know if I have ever thought of that before. Have you?

Does God dream?

Not dream as in what we do when we’re asleep, but dream as in imagine, wonder.

Does God have an unquenchable hope???

…Genesis 1:26 states that we are created in God’s image. So if we can dream, why can’t God?

…If we can dream, then that makes God the Original Dreamer.

As Original Dreamer, then it would follow that God’s dreams dwell within us, and we have the awesome responsibility to keep those dreams alive. (From intro to Tommy Tenney’s book God’s Dream Team)

Is that a truth we want to believe: that God dreams?

If businessmen can dream of success in the marketplace, if artists can dream of masterpieces to be created, if athletes can dream of championships won, then why can’t God dream too? (Also Tenney)

Can a garden be planted if one does not dream it? Can a people be delivered without a dreamer to dream it? Can a faith community be formed without a dream?

Do any of these things happen by coincidence? Do they happen by force? Do they happen by first dreaming the dream?

If we were to take this idea of God being able to dream, then it creates another way for us to look at the Bible.

To not see it as a list of what you can or can not do or a tool to attack and abuse others. Instead, to think of the Bible as a collection of dreams; God’s dreams.

What does God dream of?

I believe that some of God’s dreams are found right here in Deuteronomy 6:

-That we love the Lord.
-That we pass on this knowledge to our children, and our children’s children.
-That things go well for us.

What does God dream of? Just like you, just like I, God dreams of being loved.

True love, real love. Not love that is forced, not love that is coerced, not love that comes from locking us away and shielding us from ever living a full life.

But love that comes from our entire being: our heart, our soul, and our might.

What does God dream of? That we pass on our love for God to our children and those who come after us.

God dreams of generation after generation knowing just how much God cares for us, how much God has done for us, how much God has promised us.

What does God dream of? That things go well for us.

This dream began even before there was a garden. God’s dream parted the Red Sea waters. This dream led our ancestors into a land flowing with milk and honey.

God’s dream did not include locking us away. It did not include keeping us behind a fortress. Nor did it include God using deceit.

To do so would have taken away our freedom, it would mean our relationship is false and unhealthy. To do so would mean that our love is not real.

Those are things God does not dream for us.

And if there is ever a doubt about what God truly wants for us, what it is that God dreams, all we have to do is to look at the life and ministry of Jesus Christ.

For it is in Jesus that God’s dreams are realized.

Jesus, who showed us how to welcome children, foreigners and those who are hurting into our lives.

Jesus, who demonstrated how meals are to be shared, who was willing to believe that there would be bread for all.

Jesus, who dared to dream that sins could be forgiven, lost sons and daughters could return home to open arms and that we could all be good neighbors.

Jesus believed those dreams so strongly he was willing to die for them.

Have all those dreams come true?


Does it mean the dreaming is to ever stop?


It means that we are to find ways to carry those dreams forward and to keep them alive.

It means that we are to dare to dream as well, and to know that when we dream, we dream with all the saints who have come before us.

When we dream, we are dreaming with God.

In closing, I believe that even though difficult situations arise and hard times occur, we are not helpless, hopeless or worthless.

We can find the strength to go on by knowing that we are walking embodiments of God’s dreams.

We were not dreamed into life to be held captive by a fearful deity. Instead we were dreamed into life to live and to thrive.

To do justice, to love mercy and to walk humbly with our Lord. To enjoy the gift of eternal life.

Does God dream? I would say yes, and God’s dreams are greater then anything you and I could even think of.

Let us end with a prayer Judy Vekasy gave me months ago. It goes like this:

“Loving, gentle, holy one
Dreamer of Dreams
Who dreamed me into being
Help me to realize the dream
You have dreamed me to be.”

Amen, and amen.

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