Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Dreams and Visions

The next day, as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour to pray. And he became hungry and wanted something to eat, but while they were preparing it, he fell into a trance and saw the heavens opened and something like a great sheet descending, being let down by its four corners upon the earth. In it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air. 13 And there came a voice to him: “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” But Peter said, “By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.” And the voice came to him again a second time, “What God has made clean, do not call common.” This happened three times, and the thing was taken up at once to heaven. Acts 10:9-16

I was attending a festival in New York City over the weekend and saw a group of people, all wearing the same t-shirts who were talking to people about the coming of the rapture - the end of times. They had a specific date on their shirts as they leader had calculated the date through his interpretation of the bible and recent historical events. They were sharing their vision and trying to sign people up so that they would go to heaven. Their dreams and visions were filled with the division of peoples, God's final judgment and separating good from evil. Peter's vision is very different, and in my experience, and the witnesses of generations of faithful, God fills dreams and vision with inclusion and expansion, rather than judgment.

Peter is like so many of us who wants to do the right thing and know what the rules are. He wants concrete and God is always challenging him to widen his understanding and perspective. God invites him through Jesus, the disciples and through visions to open his heart and mind to those people and cultures he has excluded. God bids his to participate in the life and world of foreigners and enemies even. And God invites us likewise.

Today, I want to be be open to the life and world of enemies and foreigners. I want to believe that God is expanding our capacities and horizons rather than limiting them. And I want to dream and help people a world where God's love is the sign we see on everyone's' forehead, the indwelling of God, given to all.

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