Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Sermon for Nov 25, 2012; John 18:33-38

Rev. George Miller
John 18:33-38
“What Is Truth?”
Nov 25, 2012

This month our theme has been “truth.” We heard that the Lord our God is One and we shall have no other God before him.

We met a widow and discovered that although the world may ration out supplies, following the call of God will create “enough.”

Last week we discovered that stones, no matter how large, can be toppled and destroyed, but Christ will live forever.

Today we conclude our series by trying to discern who Jesus is to us, and we do so with a tense and passionate scripture.

Two men are engaged in a power match in which they use words like “king”, “kingdom”, “world” and “truth.”

Pilate, governor of the territory, wants to do what is right. But right for who?

He claims he wants the truth, but what he really wants are facts he can comfortably wrap his head around.

By asking if Jesus is the King of the Jews, Pilate is essentially asking “Have you come here to rile things up and lead the people in a military revolt against the government?”

Pilate, in asking a simple yes or no question, hopes that Jesus will pick the easiest path so it will be all over and done with and Pilate can go back to doing whatever Pilate does.

But Jesus is no pawn. He will not follow the easiest of roads. In a display of true strength and courage, he refuses to give Pilate what he and the angry people think they want.

By neither saying yes or no, Jesus is now even more dangerous to the governor.

At the end, Pilate is left asking an existential question: “What is truth?”

Last week we talked about the difference between facts and truth. Facts are bits of information and data, things which can be easily memorized or stored into a computer.

Whereas truth, well truths are things that are integrated, learned. Truths are the lessons come across in a play like “Hamlet” or a book, like the “Life of Pi”.

Last week we heard two poems about best laid plans and hubris lost upon the sands.

Today, another poem, one by Robert Frost, called “The Road Not Taken.”

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

…Like many, I am drawn to this poem, thinking of all the places I’ve been, choices that were made, realizing that more often that not its been taking the roads less traveled that have brought me here thus far.

Think of the roads our congregation has taken…

The paths our country’s forefathers and mothers forged…

The watery course our ancestors took when they decided it was better to cross an ocean then to live on solid land ruled by tyranny…

None of these paths were neither well traveled, nor yellow brick roads; more like briars and thorns.

Which perhaps sums up a Christian life that is truly lived.

To say that Jesus is King is beyond political; it is a theological statement that touches upon every sphere of living.

Sure (as we’ve experienced again and again), Christianity is something that can easily be said, but living as a true Christian is not something so easy to do.

Thank God for the gift of grace, because Christianity, really following the ways of Christ, is going down a path that has been the one less traveled.

A path in which our concepts of truth carry over to the behaviors we exhibit and the choices which shape our daily lives, from how we run our households to who we vote for.

These choices are based on the truths of who we believe Jesus to be.

Last week, I asked you to engage in an exercise in which everyone was encouraged to say what kind of spiritual stone we should use as our church’s foundation.

Listen to the list again. This time, ask yourself if these are also the words you would use to describe the Kingdom of God.

In alphabetical order, you said:

Acceptance, action
Caring, compassion, courage
Faith, faithful, friendship
Hope, hospitable, humility
Trust, transparency

All these words pack power; all these words speak and sing; all these words carry truth.

But alas, these are not the easiest words to follow. The roads, the paths they create are not the ones most traveled.

For if they were there would be less dysfunction within our own families and under our own roofs.

If they were the paths most taken, instead of simply saying we are a Christian nation, we would be living as a Christian nation, more united then divided.

All of our children would be well educated, none of our veterans would be on the street asking for help, nor would our elderly be dying abused and alone in nursing homes.

If these words were indeed truths we could all live by, the world would experience less hunger and homelessness because as Christians we would want to make sure that everyone indeed would have “enough.”

Pilate asks “What is truth?”

Jesus Christ is our truth. Jesus is the King of the Heavenly Kingdom and he has laid down a path before us.

It’s a path so many people often find easier to talk about, but not so often is it the road everyone is so eager to take.

It’s a path that has yet to be worn out, even after 2,000 years.

It is a path that does indeed contain thorns and leads to a cross, but it also a path that leads us to the marvelous beyond.

In conclusion, Jesus, our True King, has already started the way, creating a path for us, if we are willing to listen, if we are brave enough to follow.

What will it take for each of us to go a bit further down that road, even if it is just the smallest of steps?

How could choosing to follow a road, constructed by the truth of Christ, make for us all the difference?

May God continue to speak to us, may the Holy Spirit continue to challenge us, may Jesus continue to lead the way.

May we be cheerful in our listening and courageous in our following.


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Sermon for Nov 18, 2012; Mark 13:1-8

Rev. George Miller
Mark 13:1-8
“Traveling Truth”
Nov 18, 2012

Anyone who’s been a resident of Highlands County knows that there has been some controversy over the FCAT.

FCAT is the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test. It was designed in 1998 to increase academic achievement by implementing standards which consist of criterion-referenced assessments in math, reading, science, and writing, which measures student progress toward meeting specific benchmarks.

To the ear it may sound good, but ask most teachers, artists and creative thinkers and they’ll tell you their true thoughts.

While the FCAT measures a student’s ability to remember facts, it does not measure one’s ability to think, create, integrate or have fun.

A computer can remember facts, but the human brain learns truths. That’s where things such as art and poetry come into play. Yeats. Dickinson. Shakespeare.

How many recall having to learn and recite poems in school? There are two I recall.

The 1st is “To a Mouse” by Robert Burns which features a line that goes something like this “The best laid schemes of mice and men are often led astray.”

How true is that? No matter how well we plan our lives, nothing will ever go 100% the way we want it. Just ask Mitt Romney.

The other poem is “Ozymandias” by Percy Bysshe Shelley. It goes like this:

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: `Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear --
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.'

This poem teaches a valuable truth: the danger of hubris and the reality that none of us are invincible. Just ask General Petraeus.

Facts learned for the FCAT do not necessarily equal the truths that can be found in poetry, plays, and literature.

What is fact and what is truth? We encounter this in today’s reading.

Jesus and his disciples leave the Temple and one of them says “Look, teacher, what large stones and what large buildings.”

This disciple wasn’t making this up, he was speaking a fact. According to writings of the day and archeological excavations, we know just how large some of the stones were. Anyone want to take a guess?

The stones could be as long as 68 feet, 9 feet high, 8 feet wide, and weighing 500 tons. I’m going to let you soak that in: 68 feet long, 9 feet high, 8 feet wide, and 500 tons.

That’s a lot of stone. No wonder the disciple was impressed. Could you imagine how majestic, how indestructible the Temple seemed?

The fact of the matter was that the Temple truly was an amazing place. It was where the people believed God lived. That within those walls, between those stones, one could have an experience with God unlike any other place in the world.

The Temple was also where the people received forgiveness, where they brought their sacrificial offerings to experience the washing away of their sins.

The Temple was not only the place where God dwelled, a location of worship and of forgiveness, it was the center of the city, the place in which everything revolved around.

Yet something happened to the Holy Temple over time: it became corrupt. It became the means of domination and political manipulation.

First, the Persian Empire took it over and used it as the center of government, turning the priests and temple authorities into rulers of the Jewish people.

Then, King Herod came along and rebuilt the Temple with grand opulence, using large stones and so much gold to cover it that when the sun hit the Temple, people were said to be almost blinded.

Does blinding gold and tons of stone sound like a suitable home for a God who is devoted to doing justice, loving kindness, and walking humbly?

Does blinding gold and tons of stone sound like a suitable home for a God who made sure a widow didn’t run out of her rations of oil and flour?

So, perhaps we can understand why Jesus was not impressed with the Temple, especially when we read this story in its full context.

It takes place on the Tuesday before Jesus’ death. He and his disciples have gone into the Temple and immediately Jesus is accosted by the chief priests, scribes and elders who challenge his authority.

They get so angry at his teachings they want to have him arrested. They send in Pharisees to see if they can accuse Jesus of being unpatriotic. The Sadducees try to stump him with an end of life question.

Jesus watches as the corrupt treasury allows a widow to give all she has while the scribes are walking around in expensive clothes and sitting in the best seats.

Jesus is in the Temple and instead of experiencing the presence and grace of God, all he sees around him is corruption, accusations and hypocrisy.

So he is nonplussed by the wonders of the stones; instead he is riled up about the truths he has just encountered: his father’s house has indeed been turned into a den of thieves and robbers.

The Temple has become like Ozymandias’ statue and its’ leaders are like scheming mice, so it’s not that hard for Jesus to imagine a time when the Temple will be a colossal wreck and led astray.

Here is where truth and fact come together: Jesus was right. In 70 CE the Temple was attacked by the Roman army: they burned it down and then razed it to the ground.

Though the Temple had become corrupt, its destruction created a monumental dilemma for the people.

With it gone, where did God dwell? With the Temple destroyed where could the people turn for forgiveness?

The answer, for an emerging group of people, began to appear: Jesus. It was in Jesus that people believed God dwelled.

Though he had been crucified, his resurrection meant that Jesus eternally lived and was forever present.

Since God dwelled within Jesus, it meant that people could now experience forgiveness through their own personal encounter with the risen Christ.

They no longer had to go to a Temple; they no longer had to offer an animal sacrifice.

In Christ the experience of God can now take place anywhere at anytime. In other words, Jesus Christ became their traveling truth, not confined by time or space, stones or gold.

Think about that. Think what it means. It means that no building can control God, no building can take the place of God, and no building is God…

…Now, we just went over a lot of information; perhaps too much truth and facts to fit in one sermon. So before I wrap up, let’s do a little audience participation in which you get to put on your thinking caps.

We just had our Annual Meeting. In January we’ll have new members sitting on Council and on the various committees. And as we heard last week, the planning for the kitchen remodeling is going very well.

But it’s important to remember that we are not God, and no building takes God’s place. Instead our church is part of the Body of Christ, called to do Jesus’ work in the world.

If we were to call upon our imagination and think of words to describe the different types of stones, the different traits to be used in the continued growth of our congregation, what would those stones be called?

(Let members of the congregation call out words, like compassion, grace, mission etc)

These, I believe, are the kind of stones that Jesus is looking for.

These are the foundational attributes which make God well pleased; gifts of the Holy Spirit given to assist our church in the continuing process of becoming the place it was created to be.

The event of Jesus has changed the truth of all our lives forever.

In conclusion, how can we, as members of Emmanuel UCC share this truth with others we meet?

How can we share God’s love with a world where mighty people fall and all that seems to stretch before us is lone and level sand?

How can we find ways to be Jesus to a world where best lead plans of mice and men often go astray?

Let us continue to discover these truths together; let us trust that the Holy Spirit will continue to share God’s wisdom with us all.

Amen and amen.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Sermon from Nov 11 2012; 1 Kings 17:8-16

Rev. George Miller
1 Kings 17:8-16
“Lessons Learned”
Nov 11, 2012

(Sermon is done in character) Our nation appears to be at a stand still. People are divided over the president. The war over seas rages on. Gas is being rationed off and winter is upon us.

I’m afraid that here in Upstate New York Mother and I are feeling the brunt of it all.

My father bravely fought in the first World War. When he returned he and my mother married and moved here to start a new life for themselves.

They built this hotel with a dream and determination, believing that people would flock here in the fall to see the changing leaves, ski in the winter, get away in the spring and escape the scorching heat of the city in the summer.

And they were right, making their dream into a reality. They had my brother Tommy and then they had me. Then the dream began to sour when Dad died due to wounds he endured in battle.

But my mother is a brave woman and she pressed on, raising Tommy and I while maintaining the business.

She made sure we went to school and church, even if she was too busy with the daily running of the hotel to go herself.

Mom is a hard worker who did not a judge a single soul. It wasn’t unusual for us to have guests who were migrant workers from Mexico or black porters from the railway.

Mom didn’t care who you were or where you hailed from. “All men’s money is green and all men’s blood is red” is what she’d say.

For awhile things seemed like they’d be OK, then the war started. The war to end all wars they said.

Hitler was railing and Pearl Harbor was attacked and just like that everything seemed to change overnight.

Wanting to make our nation proud and to follow in the footsteps of our dearly departed father, Tommy and I immediately went down to enlist in the military.

Tommy got in right away. I was denied entrance for what they considered “unfortunate circumstances.”

Mother said perhaps it was for the best, so I could help her run the business. But I hated staying behind while Tommy and all the other brave men journeyed oversee.

At first it was an incredible time of unity. We all knew what we were fighting for. Then the reality settled in. This was not going to be a quick and easy war.

It would take time, years perhaps.

With most of the men gone, women flooded the workforce. You’d see them in factories, even pumping gas at the local station.

Almost overnight we went from a nation that produced consumer goods to one that produced war supplies.

By May 0f ’42, the prices on almost all our everyday goods were frozen, starting with sugar and coffee.

Soon, everything was being rationed off. Gas, tires, meat, silk, was limited. Cookbooks came out with recipes on how to deal with the food shortage.

With the enemy having control over 90% of rubber supplies, the President called upon us to help out anyway we can by contributing scrap rubber to be recycled: old tires, raincoats, garden hoses, bathing caps, you name it.

People were encouraged to carpool, only drive when necessary and stay below 35 MPH to conserve tires.

By the end of ‘42 half of car owners could only get 4 gallons of gas a week and had to prove they owned no more then 5 tires.

Those who were industrial workers could get 8 gallons. Doctors and preachers could get more. Truck drivers and members of Congress had an unlimited supply.

Know what that meant for Mother and I? Business began to dry up. Because of the war few people could afford a trip to the Catskills, nor make it here on 4 gallons of gas at 35 miles per hour.

Our thriving hotel began to dry up. Mother had to let go of most of her staff. There were those who stayed, only because they’d have no other place to go and having a place that was warm in winter was better then no home at all.

Things grew more difficult. Mother and I were used to finer things. Like this coat from Macy’s. But soon it became apparent that those days were long behind us.

Things wore out, they broke down, we made do. So even with the lining tore and buttons fallen off, I wear it without too much complaint.

I mean, how could we honestly complain? Tommy and all our other brave soldiers were oversee, defending our nation, fighting for the right cause.

Tommy would send us letters from wherever he was stationed: France, Italy. He’d include pictures of them on a warship or at a makeshift canteen or some pretty young girl sent in to entertain the troops.

We never let him know what was really happening over here; we’d write back saying everything was fine, keep up the good work.

His letters gave us the courage to go on; that and going to Sunday Service. With business down, Mother would join me at the old white church on the hill.

The pastor would tell us stories from the Bible meant to inspire us and keep our dreams alive.

Sometime it worked, liked when Rev. Whitaker told us the story about Elijah and the widow.

How she was once a well to do woman and her town fell onto hard times, so hard so had to go to the gates of the city to gather enough sticks to cook a meal.

How her ration of oil and flour had gotten so low she was sure it would be the last meal her and her son would eat.

How a stranger came into town seeking assistance, and though she herself thought she had too little to give, she discovered that in the Lord she did indeed have “enough.”

Though that story seemed far fetched, it was something we could relate to, and it gave us enough hope to press on, which is what we did.

Rationing began to affect every part of our life. Women’s clothing could not have hems or belts greater then two inches. Cuffs on sleeves were eliminated. Gone were nylon stockings.

That didn’t stop the American imagination. Mother and other women simply drew lines up the back of their legs to give the illusion of nylons.

30% of all cigarettes went to the soldiers. Due to the sugar shortage Coca Cola stopped producing soda.

Kids went around collecting scraps of metal, anything they could find: rakes, irons, bird cages.

Everywhere you went there were Victory Gardens being planted in the parks, at the schools. Which was fine, until winter set in.

Tommy wrote, Mom struggled, the business dwindled, and we wondered just how we would survive.

By 43 those ration book were a way of life, telling us what we could or could not buy with our own money. Everything was given points.

Canned spinach was 11 points, corn 14 and peas 16.

Canned grapefruit was 10 points, peaches were 21.

A can of soup was 10 ½ points, a bottle of grape juice was 15.

Each person only got about 48 points a month.

Meat, cheese and dairy were in short supply. And butter? Couldn’t get, so we would take oleo, which is white, and mix it with yellow food coloring to at least give the impression it was butter.

By 1945 we reached the point that we were ready to give up. Mother had nothing to her name. The hotel was falling into disrepair. Letters from Tommy stopped coming, we didn’t know what to do.

Mother literally felt like the widow forced to gather sticks outside the city.

That’s when Rev. Whitaker came to her with an idea: would she possibly consider using the hotel as a place for the homeless, the tired, the unemployed migrant workers and train porters to stay until the war ended?

It would not bring in any extra income, but it would provide a service that was badly needed.

Mother didn’t know what to do at first; she needed time to think.

Once she had lived during a time of milk and honey, now it seemed like a nightmare of rationed gas and worn out shoes.

She thought of the teachings from the Bible. How God watched over those in the wilderness, how Jesus called us to care for the lonely, the sick and poor.

She told Rev. Whitaker yes, and within a few days new life, and with it, a new spirit, entered into the nearly abandoned hotel.

Though no money came in, the rooms went back to being full and people pitched in to pull their weight.

Instead of sitting around doing nothing, they fixed the broken fence, they shoveled the snow, and they began to pool their resources.

I remember this one day, a new guy, someone I had never seen before, came in. Said his name was Joshua or something like that.

He spent time talking with my Mother; not sure what was being said but able to see it was making a difference.

Then he suggested to my Mother that perhaps what they needed to have that night was a party, a time to get things off their mind.

“A party?” she asked. “With what? All I have left until Saturday night is a loaf of bread and a can of green beans.”

“That will be enough,” said Joshua. “I have a bottle of juice and a serving of canned salmon. If you have the party I’ll make sure there will be enough for everyone.”

Mother thought he was crazy, but she was past the point of caring anymore. We all were.

“Besides,” she said to me, “Who’s to say he’s not Elijah come into town?”

“Or Jesus,” I thought to myself.

That night we had everyone staying at the hotel down in the dining room. The radio was on, playing songs like “PS I love You” and “God Bless America.”

And let me tell you: a miracle occurred. Though we were all badly down on our luck, together it turned out we had enough.

This one had coffee; this one had sugar to sweeten it up. This one had tomatoes while that one had meat to go in a stew. This one had pineapple while that one had fruit cocktail and they stirred it all up.

This guy had a few smokes, this one had some left over whiskey, this one had a fresh pair of nylons (how I did not know, nor did any of us ask).

We shared stories about victories won oversees; we sung patriotic tunes and church hymns that kept our dreams alive.

That night we all ate like we had not eaten for weeks, even months. And there was enough left over to feed us the next day and the day after, and when the new ration books came out we learned how to work together.

Funny thing is that we never did see Joshua again after that night. Mother and I kind of joke, saying that perhaps he was our Elijah who had come into town.

Or better yet, perhaps he was indeed our Jesus who had gathered us together to break bread and share fish.

Whatever it was, it felt like a bit of heaven broken into our wintry lives.

Not to say that things have gotten that much better.

The war still rages on with no end in sight. Gas rationing is still the reality of the land. And we have yet to receive word from Tommy or know if he’s OK or not.

Our current reality is reshaping my views of the Bible. That even though some of the stories seem far fetched and untrue, I’d rather believe in their dream then to give up in defeat and live a nightmare.

That moments like these can create a space for miracles to take place.

Is it possible that even during tough times, while our earthly eyes only see an oil jar near empty, God’s eyes see a vessel overflowing with possibilities if we learn how to work in partnership with God and others for the sake of all people?

Till the day we all live in peace, and study war no more, let us say “Amen” and “amen.”

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.