My family sets a fair amount of spiritual stock in dreams. It’s part of our culture, even though we are as thouroughly assimilated as any family in America is going to get.
I dreamt last night of comfort. The details are blurred, as in all dreams, but I remember the overwhelming feeling of comfort and love. It wasn’t a solitary comfort, it was one shared between people, and the act of sharing doubled and redoubled it.
(Yes, I have been reading Dame Julian of Norwich’s Showings on the bus, in between playing Lego Star Wars on my DS. Much like C. S. Lewis, I am finding her v. v. dangerous. Like John of the Cross, I’m finding selective quoting by theologians and greeting card writers has softened her into something almost wholly unrecognizeable from the firey, flowery, passionate [in all senses of the word] woman who wrote in that cell in England.)
It’s not hard to trace where this dream came from. I spend pretty much all day hooked into my RSS reader. One of the last things I read last night was this post at Elizabeth+’s place.
A long time after watching the video, I thought to myself, “Only Methodists would protest in harmony.”
I didn’t think that at the time. It’s hard to think when your heart is breaking.
Especially when you thought it couldn’t break any more. Especially when you thought you’d come to terms with the rejection and built a new family just down the theological block.
Incompatible. It’s a word you expect out of the mouth of a Dalek, or a Borg. HAL, maybe.
The people who raised me, who blessed me, who loved on me every chance they got and saved me (and we’re not talking metaphorical happy-clappy-Come-to-Jesus saving, here, we’re talking if I hadn’t gone to that Methodist summer camp in 1993, I would be dead and long buried), have once again declared me incompatible.
I am incompatible.
I ask God for an answer, I get a dream.
I ask God for a Word, I get Isaiah 40.
Ok, you’re mostly Episcopalians. I’ll take pity on you. This is out of The Message.
“Comfort, oh comfort my people,”
says your God.
“Speak softly and tenderly to Jerusalem,
but also make it very clear
That she has served her sentence,
that her sin is taken care of—forgiven!
She’s been punished enough and more than enough,
and now it’s over and done with.”
Thunder in the desert!
“Prepare for God’s arrival!
Make the road straight and smooth,
a highway fit for our God.
Fill in the valleys,
level off the hills,
Smooth out the ruts,
clear out the rocks.
Then God’s bright glory will shine
and everyone will see it.
Yes. Just as God has said.”
A voice says, “Shout!”
I said, “What shall I shout?”
“These people are nothing but grass,
their love fragile as wildflowers.
The grass withers, the wildflowers fade,
if God so much as puffs on them.
Aren’t these people just so much grass?
True, the grass withers and the wildflowers fade,
but our God’s Word stands firm and forever.”
Climb a high mountain, Zion.
You’re the preacher of good news.
Raise your voice. Make it good and loud, Jerusalem.
You’re the preacher of good news.
Speak loud and clear. Don’t be timid!
Tell the cities of Judah,
“Look! Your God!”
Look at him! God, the Master, comes in power,
ready to go into action.
He is going to pay back his enemies
and reward those who have loved him.
Like a shepherd, he will care for his flock,
gathering the lambs in his arms,
Hugging them as he carries them,
leading the nursing ewes to good pasture.