Sunday, June 8, 2014

How Big Can You Dream?

Pentecost Sunday

I admit to having a lot of dreams. Not the scary night terrors of childhood; monsters and villains chasing me through my imagination. My dreams seem to inform me about my life and things around me. Recently, I dreamed of a friend I had not thought of for many years. Bill and I attended the same high school, worked together at the same job—our paths crisscrossing several times over the years. In my dream I remembered his wife and daughter—but not their names, so I Goggled Bill to see if I could jog my memory.  I was shocked to see his obituary.
He had died at 62, two years ago.

Once I had processed Bill’s death I was led to wonder what had prompted me to think of him after all the years that had passed since we last saw each other.  Was my dream a sign and if so, how should I interpret this? Are we supposed to understand our dreams as more than strange visions?

Pentecost is a time of dreaming. Peter quoted the prophet Joel, saying “your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams … then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Pentecost is a time of dreaming for the church as well. We dream of what is, what was, and what will be in the future. Our dreams can give us visions of what could be—and warn us away from that which is not good.  So dream your dreams, call upon the name of the one who created us, forgives us, and redeems us. Listen to the voice of God who speaks to us in our dreams—who leads us and guides us always.

Father Mark+

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Decoration Day

Sixth Sunday of Easter

Memorial Day was called Decoration Day for many years in my family, before I finally figured out that they were the same days.  I don’t know why we held onto the old term Decoration Day except our tradition was to drive to the cemetery and “decorate” the graves of loved ones with flowers and flags. It was one of those celebrated holidays that was special to me—not just because it marked the end of the school year—but because it was a change in the routine; a day of remembrances and sharing stories among the old men (and women) of my family.

It was a day when we would gather at my grandparents’ home for a meal and fellowship together. And the stories flowed. With aunts and uncles from Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, and Missouri all coming together in Indiana, there were lots of stories and storytelling competitions.

There were also tricks and pranks. My favorite was one my grandpa would pull on the younger children. He would call one of us over and give us a brown paper bag of candy with the instruction to give everyone in the room a piece of candy. The child would always look at the bag and think that there was more than enough candy to go around, and for their trouble they would be rewarded with a special haul of candy for themselves. But grandpa would always count the exact number of people in the room and then take back one piece so the “sucker” would be left out when he got to the bottom of the bag.

There are few things about my life that I would change, but one thing I would do differently is be closer to my family—so that my kids could experience the family fellowship I experienced growing up in the midst of aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents. These special people are not the advocates to which Jesus referred, but their presence in my life reminds me of the promises of Jesus to send another advocate to be with us always.

Father Mark+