Dear St. Luke family:
At the heart of the first ever Pentecost sermon, the apostle Peter quotes the prophet Joel who promised that God’s spirit makes it possible for all of us to dream – young and old, male and female, slave and free – all of us have been commissioned to be official Christian dreamers. And yet, most congregations I know are shy about dreaming. Maybe they think dreaming is not something that responsible adults should do. Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner, the authors of the best-seller Freakonomics, write that one of the keys to innovation is to be willing to think like a child and relearn how to question assumptions. Who says your congregation can’t grow? Why do we assume people in the neighborhood won’t come to our church? These and too many other things “everyone knows” need to be called into question by some active dreaming that invites the Spirit to help us see possibilities we hadn’t seen before.
Maybe others are worried that dreaming can be divisive. What if, after all, your dream and someone else’s dream are different? As Paul wrote, there are a variety of gifts and likely a variety of dreams, but there is one Spirit. If there is some disagreement along the way as we discern between gifts and dreams of the Spirit, we’ll be okay if we remember that we are all members of one Body.
Maybe people are just worried that if we dream, we might be disappointed. Dreaming, for some, feels like getting your hopes up. Jesus refused to leave his disciples stuck in fear. He sought them out, finding them even though they’d shut themselves behind locked doors. He wants to breathe upon us the same Holy Spirit he gave his first disciples, and set us loose to forgive, share the good news, work for the welfare of our community, provide strength to the weak and courage to the fearful, and in all these ways to share with those around us the dream and vision of Christian community. Might we fail? Yes. But rather than let that possibility paralyze us, perhaps we can remember that God seems to have ways to wrest surprising victory from what looks like utter failure.
This Pentecost Sunday, I’ll invite you to dream in the Spirit. What are your dreams for St. Luke? How might we share those dreams, and share the vision?
Don’t forget to look for my midweek videos on St. Luke’s Facebook page. In this week’s video, I explain that we’ll be both on Zoom and worshiping in person this Sunday. We have some kinks to work out of our “hybrid” worship, and so I ask for your grace; your worship team is working hard at a difficult technical challenge. We’re also dealing with perfectly natural discomfort about returning to “normal” after over a year of being ultra-cautious. It makes sense that folks will feel awkward, and that, like everything else in life, people will have different responses to that discomfort. It’s another opportunity to grant each other patience and grace.
Grace and peace,