Do you enjoy dreaming? Do you ever remember your dreams? Do they ever reoccur? Have you ever dreamed about dreaming? Have you ever thought about sharing a dream? The film Inception is probably the most complicated, fast paced and dramatic sci-fi thriller I have ever seen. The premise is that professional thieves can invade and share in other people’s dreams to steal information via a drug-induced sleep.
From the ingenious mind of British filmmaker Christopher Nolan, Inception begs the question: what if you could share a dream with someone? Long before Christopher Nolan dreamed up the imaginary world of Inception, the Bible encourages us to dream, to imagine the future and to share the experience.
The Old Testament Prophet Joel predicted, ‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.” (Acts 2:17; Joel 2:28).
Joel is talking more about ‘day dreaming’ than about night dreaming. You can’t do much about dreams at night but you can during the day. While ‘day dreaming’ is usually a pejorative term, I believe we should consciously and actively cultivate the art of day dreaming. Do you have any hopes or dreams for Christmas? For the New Year? For your family? For our community?
Let me share my dream. Imagine Virginia Water as a village free from crime, free from pollution, free from noise, free from stress, free from fear. Imagine Virginia Water as a place where children are safe walking to school alone. Imagine Virginia Water as a place where you felt completely safe walking alone at night. Imagine our community with no recorded crime. No speeding motorists, no burglaries, no shop lifting, no assaults. Imagine Virginia Water with no alcoholism, no drug abuse, no vandalism and no graffiti. Imagine not having to lock your windows or doors or gates at night. Imagine not needing an intruder alarm, surveillance cameras, high walls or the services of a security firm.
Imagine Virginia Water as a place where marriages last for life, where there is no infidelity, no unwanted pregnancies, no abortions, no child abuse, no adultery, no marital violence, no divorce. Imagine no anti-Semitism, Islamophoba, no racism of any kind, but a tolerant and caring community where minorities feel secure and accepted. Imagine our elderly cared for by neighbours. Imagine no one left alone, no one lonely, no one depressed, no one suicidal,
but everyone valued, affirmed and contributing to the good of the community.
Is such a vision unrealistic or naïve?
At the birth of Jesus, the angels announced to the shepherds, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests” (Luke 1:14). That wasn’t a wish or an aspiration. They were announcing a fact – Shalom – peace – reconciliation with God and one another is promised, nay guaranteed, to those who recognise Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. That is what Jesus came to achieve through his supernatural birth, through his wondrous life, and supremely by his death and resurrection in our place and for us. It’s not a fantasy. It’s not a dream. It’s not make believe. For those with eyes to see, the Bible gives us a vision of what the future will be.
“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:3-4)
This vision of the future has encouraged Christians down through the centuries to pray, as Jesus taught us, “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10). And then to give their lives to make it a reality
What 2011 holds for us, we do not know. It is perhaps timely with the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton a few months’ away, to remember something memorable William’s great-grandfather said on Christmas Day 1939. As citizens of the British Empire faced a world war, King George VI resurrected the tradition of delivering an annual Christmas message to all the inhabitants of the Empire. In this excerpt from his speech, the King, not usually a compelling speaker, inspired and reassured his listeners by quoting a poem:
“I said to the man who stood at the Gate of the Year, ‘Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.’ And he replied,’Go out into the darkness, and put your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be better than light, and safer than a known way.'”
May you place your hand in the hand of God this Christmas. May God give you a vision of his plan for your future that will last all year and beyond. May God give you the wisdom to discover and strength do his perfect will. And may your dreams, so anointed, come true. And in doing so, may God bless you and those you love, this Christmas and forever more.
Delivered at the Wentworth Golf Club Carols by Candlelight Concert, Christmas 2010.