Good morning everyone! Looks like a bit of sun to start our day!
Today’s scripture: GENESIS 37:1-11
1Jacob settled in the land where his father had lived as an alien, the land of Canaan. 2This is the story of the family of Jacob.
Joseph, being seventeen years old, was shepherding the flock with his brothers; he was a helper to the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, his father’s wives; and Joseph brought a bad report of them to their father. 3Now Israel loved Joseph more than any other of his children, because he was the son of his old age; and he had made him a long robe with sleeves. 4But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him, and could not speak peaceably to him.
5Once Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him even more. 6He said to them, “Listen to this dream that I dreamed. 7There we were, binding sheaves in the field. Suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright; then your sheaves gathered around it, and bowed down to my sheaf.”8His brothers said to him, “Are you indeed to reign over us? Are you indeed to have dominion over us?” So they hated him even more because of his dreams and his words.
9He had another dream, and told it to his brothers, saying, “Look, I have had another dream: the sun, the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” 10But when he told it to his father and to his brothers, his father rebuked him, and said to him, “What kind of dream is this that you have had? Shall we indeed come, I and your mother and your brothers, and bow to the ground before you?” 11So his brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the matter in mind.
Dreams are powerful things! They tell us what is going on in our brains sometimes. Our minds are working away while we are in deep sleep. I once asked my brother Andrew about dreams since he studies sleep in his grad program. His research revolves around dreams. I wanted to preach on the power of dreams. He told me that I probably shouldn’t invest too much in dreaming but I have to confess to him right now that I do sometimes. Sorry bro.
If nothing else, I know what state of mind I am depending on the dreams that I am having. I am one of those people who remembers vivid detail much of the time about my dreams. Often I find myself in my dream having deep conversations with a friend that I haven’t spoken with in a while. Usually we are catching up and sharing what is on our minds. I take this as a sign that I should reconnect with that person. In the long run, I appreciate the dream. They are reminders to reconnect and they are pleasant to have. On the other hand, I know that I am super anxious when I dream that someone is in my house. In my dreams I am not frightened but I am anxious and always looking over my shoulder. These usually happen when I am going to preach the next morning or something that I am very nervous about is happening the next day. Obviously my dreaming is reflecting what I am working on with my anxiety.
I do invest much in interpreting my dreams….why that person? what that emotion? Why that movement? So it is no wonder to me that in scripture God works through dreams.
Joseph is working through his dreams and it begins in this scripture. We see dreams as a motif throughout Hebrew scripture and the New Testament. Later on dreams would be essential in the birth narrative of Jesus. God sends messages through dreams to let the holy family know when to move and why. Another Joseph will get on board because of a dream and this Joseph can see ahead in his dreams. The brothers don’t respond well and sometimes that is the true story of how people may react to our dreams. Whether we wake up and proclaim our dreams or we are sharing our dreams for the future, sometimes people do not respond well.
It is our task to hold each other up to what we are dreaming, isn’t it? Instead of getting jealous for the fabulous dreams we might have about the future perhaps we can celebrate the dreams that each of have. When I was being trained this year in the Young Pastor’s Network one of the most moving things we did was make a covenant with one another to hold each other up in our successes rather than compete with our churches. It is not healthy to shove the other down in the midst of our dreams but it work’s toward God’s kingdom to lift the other up, celebrate the dream and move forward together.
What are your dreams for the future? What dreams have been keeping you entertained at night? What do your dreams look like?
Prayer: Creator God, creator of all sizes of dreams, keep us alert to your presence today in the midst of our usual Mondays. Keep us alert to bowing moons and sheaves of wheat so that we might see your lead. Amen.