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“I Have a Dream: God’s Dream”

Pentecost 22, Common Lectionary Year C

Stewardship Sunday

Luke 9:12-17

©2016 Rev Elisabeth R Jones

First a caveat for today’s sermon:
This is the second one I’ve prepared for this week.
I had a humdinger of a stewardship sermon,
centred around the Gospel you’ve just heard,
zeroing in on the words of Jesus (see title in your bulletin).
But on Thursday morning, Marg Taylor brought me a sheet of paper (She thought it was written/typed by her father, the long-time minister of Cedar Park United, Dr.Victor Rose). By the date it’s clear it was written by his successor, Lorne Brown. No matter who wrote it,
to me it was a voice from heaven.
A blessing, an affirmation
that what we have care of, here,
is so special, so “of God.”
And so appropriate for this our
Stewardship Sunday.

So, for the first time in my preaching career
I am not going to preach from a text from within the closed canon of Scripture,
but instead I’m going to take the back cover off,
and preach the whole thing, from Genesis,
through to the letter of Lorne Brown, Disciple of Jesus,
to the Saints of Cedar Park.

Let’s put the new sermon title up here.

May the words I speak be filled with your Holy Spirit,
and may our ears be tuned to her whispering breath. Amen.

“I have a Dream,” said God,
oh… about 17 billion years ago now.
Of a limitless growing universe,
spangled with stars and planets
light and fire, darkness and black holes,
and vortices of wonder replicated
in fractal complexity from a spider’s web to the crab nebula.
Dream of Creation: an intricate weaving together
of a community of time and infinity,
born from nothing more substantial
than the breath before the word,
the aleph of the universe;
“I”
“I have a Dream.”

“I have a Dream”
Said God, one night,
staring at the canopy of heaven,
with Abram the descendant of Eve.
“I have a Dream,” God said,
“That you, human one, child of mine,
will grow like this…numberless, timeless,
light in darkness,
to become a people of promise,
a community of care within this world,
healing, mending, saving, blessing.
I have this Dream.”

“I have a Dream, said the prophets,
into the benighted darkness of
too much wealth,
too much war and too much exile,
A Dream of justice that flows upon the earth
like an ever rolling stream..”

“I have this Dream too.”
said the Son of Mary,
Oh, about 2000 years ago now.
“I have this Dream,
God’s Dream of beautiful abundance,
of forgiveness, and healing,
of wisdom and love healing hate,
of numberless acts of ordinary care,
spinning, turning the world
around, and aright.”

“I have this Dream” said Jesus.
A Dream he believed in down to his toes.
A Dream he put his own flesh and bones into,
heart and soul, mind and body,
life and even death.

“I have this Dream, God’s Dream,
Look, can you see it?”
“Not so well, Jesus.”
Said, say, many his followers.
We see, only aching poverty,
oppressive military-economic
and systemic injustices,
only religious hypocrisy,
and polarizing politics
where the crazed are crowned
and the wise are poisoned by the system.
We only see fractured families,
sickness of body, heart and mind,
and soo… much…. hunger!
So, for the love of God, Jesus,
Show us your Dream.”

So he did.
He spun tales of the Dream of God
like stars across the October sky,
God’s Dream of caring community,
made real in widow’s coins generously given,
and mustard seeds grown to shelter creation,
and lilies of the field scattered
across the landscape of despair.
God’s Dream like a wedding feast
to which even the 13th fairy and the Gruffalo
are invited and welcome!

Jesus made the Dream of God real
in his healing ministry, where
the blind get to see,
the untouchable one is hugged whole,
the silenced are given speech,
the deadened are raised to life,
and the hobbled get to dance,
and the hungry,
the hungry
lost children of earth sit down to
feast on the love of God
shared in an abundant
banquet of five loaves and two fish,
with enough left over to feed the world!
…

“I have this Dream too.”
Disciples of Jesus have said,
star-numbered times
in the history of humanity
since Jesus’ body was first buried
and his life set free amongst us.
Philip; his baptismal blessing
for a seeker after God’s caring community.
Paul’s “I have a Dream, where love is patient, kind, and envies no one” – his prison poem to love.
God’s Dream enlivened by cathedral builders,
and hospice workers,
artists, and songwriters,
carers for the sick, the dying, the unloveable.
Justice seekers for the poor,
the racially or religiously persecuted….
All have said, one time or another,
famously, inspirationally,
like Martin Luther King Jr,
or prayerfully or privately, intimately
…..“ I have a Dream.”
“ I have this Dream.
God’s Dream.”

In every generation,
God’s Dream, cherished, is passed on;
of the community of creation
interwoven with God’s love and our care,
humanity as the stewards,
the care-takers,
cherishing this fragile abundance,
this bruised yet blessed existence.

In February 1974, (42 years ago)
Rev. Lorne Brown, minister of this place,
after a few months of enforced visionary contemplation
due to illness, he admits(!),
wrote to the congregation, this congregation,
“I have this Dream too.”

Let me read it to you:
“ I have this Dream that Sunday Worship with its lay participation, varied presentation and coffee hour following….”

Wow! Just wow!
If you want to know if this “God’s Dream” thing
has any substance to it, well, here’s your clue!

…….

This Dream of God,
from God’s first breath,
to the air we breathe, it’s here.
It’s taken a hold of our lives.
It’s in our flesh and bones,
in our bricks and mortar,
and in the way we expend our time, talent and money
living this Dream.
It’s who we are.

We have this Dream.
God’s Dream that this place
be one of genuine, persistent welcome.
That we be a community of care,
deep, honest, courageous care.
That we together feed one another body,
and in spirit,
through worship and prayer,
and rich experiences of God’s liveliness and loveliness amongst us.
We have this Dream of God
that provokes us to purposeful Gospel-filled
living every day we have breath.

“ I have this Dream too!
God’s Dream.
Of a community whose nature and name is love,
whose character is care,
whose disposition is joyous gratitude
for the gifts of life abundant
and grace sufficient,
whose way in the world is one of welcome,
and justice.
I have this Dream!
I believe it in my bones,
and I’ll spend my life living it,
and my time in ministry here, s
sharing God’s Dream alongside you.

Thanks be to God, Amen.

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