What Do Our Dreams Tell Us?
Tony E Dillon Hansen
Jan 6, 2019 – Epiphany
Reflection based upon Matthew 2:1- 12, Isaiah 60: 1-6, Palm 72.
I make no expectation of how one should receive these words,
but I ask you to open your hearts and minds.
Let us pray from Psalm 19, “let the words of my mouth and the meditations of [all of our] hearts be acceptable to you O Lord, [our] Rock and [our] Redeemer”.
Today, is Epiphany, The Magi, as the wise ones are referenced, or Three Kings Day (a decent poker hand if you play).
Matthew tells us these wise ones bring gifts to Jesus.
Some speculate this is the origin of gift giving we celebrate in current Christmas traditions.
I would speculate the gift we received from God on Christmas Day is perhaps an origin as well.
What a gift we have in Jesus.
One particular aspect for us to consider is “dreaming.”
(I know while you are sitting here listening to me, some of you may find your own dreams even.)
Yet I would like to consider why dreams are important and what they may tell us.
We all dream and about many things.
These become the elements of great remembrances, great legends, fantasies (Lord of the Rings even), and also warnings.
They can help us understand more about us and also maybe confuse us as well.
There are a plethora of books, magazines and websites that may offer insights into your dreams and what they could mean – that is if you remember what happened.
How many of you woke up from a dream in the morning and you felt just a rush of good joy? Maybe, you saw a loved one that reminded you of why you love them.
Maybe, you woke up in a terrible fright, shaking and wondering.
When I was young, people started talking about the terrible things called tornados.
Later that night, I thought I was being chased down by these vicious creatures.
(Thank you to ones who thought it would be fun to tease me like that!)
Why are we talking about dreams?
The Bible offers us plenty of accounts when people have received information or visions from God via dreams like Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Isaiah to name a few.
Today, dreams inform the wise ones of Jesus and warnings.
We have heard some people declare that God spoke to them in a dream.
Now, when you hear a person say something like that, what do you say?
That the person is missing a few straws in that haybale?
Wait a minute though.
I would like to say I haven’t lost all of my straws or marbles.
(After all, I thought a tornado was something trying to slice me up and eat me – and why me?!)
I believe, in my heart of hearts, that dreams are how God lighted a path for me into ministry.
For a long time, I did not listen – ignored it even.
One day, I woke up and realized I might want to listen to the call.
Thus, here I am doing ministry.
I may have a few loose screws, but I still listened.
The questions for you to consider then …
What if God was talking to you in your dreams?
Does God talk to you in your dreams (like I believe happened to me?)
What path is God lighting up for you that you maybe have ignored?
What do you do?
Would you tell God, “that sounds crazy”, “the time is not right” or would you completely ignore what God says?
I did for a long time,
but when I finally listened,
the light given to me fully enriched my life.
That is not by material wealth, but by immeasurable interactions and the experiences of working in the community in new and revealing ways.
(Don’t worry, if you listen to God, religious vocation does not have to be your path, but …)
Think about these questions then.
What do our dreams tell us?
Does God speak to us in our dreams?
Are we willing to listen to that speaking? Ask those of yourself.
I mentioned this “light” given to me,
and I wonder if this is the light that Isaiah refers.
With dreams, we have people in this story deserving some light.
From the Gospel account, Herod deceives to find this potential rival king.
Herod then orders the murder of babies – and for what?
This is distinctly a reaction of the powerful, or privilege, against perceived threats or “outsiders.”
Martin Luther King Jr. famously wrote that privileged people do not willingly given up said privilege or power.
Herod wants to preserve his – at all costs.
The Magi followed the light of a star from darkness that we read from Isaiah’s “dreams”.
The Magi represent the revelation of hope and wisdom to the world by God,
but ultimately, they also represent the revelation of Jesus -- from foreigners –
because they follow the light of the star (their dreams).
These outsiders tell Herod their dreams and hopes in Jesus. (Herod listens too!)
Thus, this Gospel gives us ample reason why we should listen to God, to our dreams, and to outsiders.
For us today, wisdom (and dreams) of outsiders can speak to, and even challenge, our traditions, our privilege, and of our Church.
I know that your church will be filling the pulpit with voices of outsiders during this time of transition.
Maybe, a lesson from the Magi is to ask what can your church learn from those voices.
The Magi express their hope and dreams to the world of this light in Bethlehem.
They travelled a long path and faced a tyrant to express this hope.
In our life journey and against great odds, how do we express our hopes and dreams?
God lights a path for the Magi, along with us people, and through dreams so that we all might realize that hope and dream in our world too.
Despite difficulty of life’s journey,
God is lighting a path for you and wants you to feel that hope of the Magi.
When you feel intense hope and love - that awesome feeling,
you have no choice but to share that.
God wants you to share that with the whole world.
That adds another question to our list earlier:
What do our dreams tell us?
Does God speak to us in our dreams?
Are we willing to listen to that speaking?
How are we making known this wisdom, this hope, this compassion of God?
We know that Jesus embodies the power, the hope and the love of God.
Jesus is the example of God to us and a light upon our hearts.
Remember, that you too are a child of God,
and you embody all that is good of God
– when you let God be you.
Thus, we can be that hope, compassion, that love and that wisdom to others.
So when God speaks to you, whether in dreams or otherwise, will you listen?
When God brings wisdom to you, to the Church and to the community,
what do you do with that and how do you share that?
Matthew tells us to let the light of Epiphany be upon you.
Make room for wisdom and outsiders -- find your light.
Especially as we look into the new year,
listen for God lighting your path,
and there is a gift of hope and love - despite any confusion.
Jesus is right there.
If anything, remember that wisdom can be found in dreams. Mary, Elizabeth and Joseph received their calls by dreams, and the Magi were guided by their dreams.
Yes Christ is revealed to us in Epiphany.
Jesus reveals to us the hope, the peace, the joy, and the love, along with outsiders,
as gifts from God.
Precious Child of God, what are you going to do with your gifts?
Thanks Be to God!