Summary: EPIPHANY 3, YEAR A - The dream of God in human flesh is the Christ in whom we are all made one. The dream behind the dream of Isaiah, John the Baptist, and Martin Luther King Jr.
A few years ago Hollywood came out with a movie about a man named Tucker. It was the story of a man who tried to fight the Detroit auto industry by creating a car named after himself. In one scene, Tucker recalls how as a young boy his Italian born mother would warn him, "Don’t get too close to people, you’ll catch their dreams." She had meant to say you’ll catch their germs." But in broken English she had mistakenly used the word “dreams” So Tucker grew up keeping himself apart from others lest He catch their dreams. Dreams are dangerous after all, for they have the power to change the human soul and to overthrow the status quo. Just ask anyone who’s heart was filled with fear when a black preacher declared on national television, “I have a dream.” Dreams are dangerous things. They are to be feared. They are to be avoided at all cost.
But simple avoiding other people’s dreams out of fear of what might happen, can cause us to miss the wonder of what does happen. Jim Egan worked at computer fairs helping customers decorate their booths. In the 70’s Egan was approached by a couple of long-haired kids who wanted some chrome displays to make their booth "look flashy." They were short of cash, but offered him some stock in their new company as a trade. Egan, who had seen businesses come and go in his twenty year career, said he would accept only hard cash. So Steve Wozniak and Steven Jobs did without the chrome, fixed up their booth, and kept their stock in Apple Computer to themselves. Presumably, Jim Egan is still decorating booths for hard cash. To be caught up in another person’s dream can be dangerous, but to avoid that same dream could be disastrous. So to dream or not to dream that is today’s question.
Do you ever get the feeling that God enjoys putting people between a rock and a hard place? "You shall have no other Gods before me!" "Choose this day whom you shall serve!" "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men!" With Jesus there is no rock for us to hide behind for Christ demands that we choose. Yes or No? Now or Never! Right Here, Right Now! Dream! Why is it so important that we dream? Because, says Paulo Coelho, "It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting." Walking by the sea of Galilee, Jesus saw two fishermen, brothers Simon and Andrew, casting a net into the sea. And Jesus says to them, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." And Simon and Andrew left their nets, and followed him. Then going on, he saw another set of brothers, James and John mending nets with their father Zebedee, Jesus called them, and immediately they also left their ship and their father, and followed Jesus. They dropped everything Matthew tells us, and did it without hemming and hawing. No discussion.No "we’ll think about it and get back to you tomorrow?" No "don’t call us; we’ll call you?" Jesus simply said, “Follow me” and they did. What would lead these men to turn their backs on all they knew, to give up their place in the status quo simply to follow after another man’s dream? When Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. stated for all to hear "I have a dream" on August 28, 1963, he did so by drawing upon the dreams of others. "I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal." That dream of our founding fathers that existed long before the term " all men" would include both women and blacks. Dr. King knew full well that this constitutional dream was not big enough to capture his dedication, for a far greater dream had already laid hold of his soul.
"I have a dream today. I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together."
Do you recognize the quote? It comes from the prophet Isaiah, chapter 40:4-5. This is also the mission cry of John the Baptist who begins his ministry by stating verse three, “A voice cries: In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God." Do you see a pattern here? A dream behind a dream? Of course you do, because it’s all one and the same dream. Through the prophet Joel, God promised, "And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream, dreams, and your young men shall see visions." A divine prophecy fulfilled through the outpouring of God’s Spirit on Pentecost. A dream fulfilled is a dangerous thing, for it has the power to change the human soul and to overthrow the status quo. J. Edwin Orr, a professor of Church history has described the great outpouring of the Holy Spirit during the Welsh Revivals of the nineteenth century. As people sought to be filled with the Spirit, they did all they could to confess their wrong doing and to make restitution. But it unexpectedly created serious problems for the shipyards along the coast of Wales. Over the years workers had stolen all kinds of things, from wheelbarrows to hammers. However, as people sought to be right with God they started to return what they had taken, with the result that soon the shipyards of Wales were overwhelmed with returned property. There were such huge piles of returned tools that several of the yards put up signs that read, "If you have been led by God To return what you have stolen, Please know that the management Forgives you and wishes you to keep what you have taken." Dreams are dangerous things most especially when we begin to live out those dreams.