Summary: PENTECOST, YEAR C - Pentecost power. The outpouring of God’s Spirit is to empower us to dream dreams and see visions.
Have you ever had one of those nights? You know one of those nights when you are woken up from a deep sleep by a dream that was so vivid that you have to lay there in bed for a while until you’ve convinced yourself that it was in fact only a dream. Rosemary had that kind of dream last week. She dreamed that our dog, Max died in his sleep. It was so vivid it woke her up. And she could not fall asleep again until she was sure Max was, in fact, alive. Even though most of us probably have had dreams like this, we don’t like to attribute too much credence to them, do we? We would far rather try to explain them all away. You know how it goes. Oh, it’s just our subconscious attempting to process the events of our day. Or, it’s simply how our minds work at handling the stress in our lives. We have a long list of ways to dismiss our dreams. How often have you heard these well known catch phrases, “It’s just a dream,” or “He’s such a dreamer.” Or better yet, “Ya, right. In your dreams!” After all, - dreams aren’t really important - are they?
Yet, this book we call the Bible is filled with accounts of people dreaming. Dreams that were not simple explained away but were interpreted by the dreamers as being of great significance. When God established his covenant with Abraham, not only did he appear to him in a vision, but he then confirmed his promise to Abraham through a dream. Jacob also had a dream where God came and confirmed with Jacob the covenant God had made with Abraham. It was through a dream that Samuel was called to become a prophet of the living God. And through dreams that God led Joseph to take Mary as his wife. Dreams are important to God, for it was through the prophet Joel that God promised that a day would come when he would pour out His spirit upon His followers. And God said that we would know that day had come when young men dreamed dreams and old men saw visions. That day has come, and we gather here this morning to remember the day God poured out the fullness of His Spirit upon His people. The day we know as Pentecost. That day marked a new beginning in the covenant with God, an event long anticipated by those who had walked with God, and longed for his abiding presence with them. Through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, we would be one step closer to the promise that one day the dwelling of God would be among us. God purposes were not finish on that day, but they took up a fuller reality.
From the first day of creation God had a good intent for us, God had a dream for humanity. And even in the midst of our rebellion, that dream continued. God establish the Covenant with Israel to keep that dream alive. God sent Jesus Christ to bring that dream into reality, and God poured out his Spirit to empower us to live God’s dream in all it’s fullness. What does God dream of night after night, and each and every waking moment? God dreams for the day when,
No longer shall each man teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.”
God has a dream that one day we would all know Him as intimately as He knows us. And so when Jesus prepared to return to the Father he promised that he would not leave us alone, but that God would give us one like him. Another helper from heaven above who will be with us forever. In the Holy Spirit, God has sent us one who will guide us, and counsel us, and teach us, that we may all know our God. That we all will have that personal, intimate relationship with our creator as intimate as Jesus’ relationship is with the Father. But too often we act as if we are asleep to God. We behave as if God is far off somewhere with little interest in what we are doing. We can at times grow complacent and behave as if God is not aware of us that he has no dream or purpose for us. We can a times forget God’s promise to us. At these times of spiritual slumber God draws close to us to say, “wake up! Yes, wake up sleepy heads. Wake up and dream.” As J.M. Power says, “The best way to make your dreams come true is to wake up.” Wake up because there is more to reality than what you see. There is more truth than what you know. God is with us. And God has a dream. God has a dream for the world, God has a dream for this town and for this church. And God has a dream for you. God’s dream comes alive through his Spirit in you. God works in and through us to bring His dreams to reality. God’s Pentecost gift to the church is the Holy Spirit who empowers us to dream dreams. Yes, we all need to wake up, and start dreaming. That is how God works. It happened when the disciples gathered in an upper room nearly 2000 years ago. They were filled by God’s Spirit. They woke up and caught God’s dream, and the church was born. It happened in the days of Zwingli and Luther and Calvin. They were filled by God’s Spirit. They woke up and caught God’s dream, and the church was changed. It was called the Protestant Reformation. It happened here in America...twice. It was called the Great Awakening and the Second Great Awakening. The Spirit moved, people woke up and dreamed and the church was changed. And we all know the man who caught God’s dream of a day that would see “justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an everflowing stream.” and he cried out “I have a dream”. That dream lifted him, lifted his people, lifted us all. His dream changed our world. T.E. Lawrence once said,