Sunday, September 14, 2014

God loves us so much

‘God loves us so much, that He’s done everything He can do to save us, and He doesn’t want it all to be wasted.’

I was trapped in a very strange dream sequence, which I call the ‘church dream.’ This is a recurring dream which I’ve had for more than twenty years, which has as its location—church. Usually, it’s the church I once attended and ministered out of, St. Mark’s, what I consider my original family church, a miniature masterpiece, architecturally a basilica with Italianate bell tower, interior based on the famous church in Venice, replete with frescoes and icons. The first few scenes in this dream sequence were based on St. Mark’s and had the same themes, me trying to explain to visitors why the great church was no longer what it once was. The last thing I remember out of those scenes was taking an embroidered icon cloth out of the church, rescuing it from oblivion because the ‘remodel’ had no place for it, and unrolling the cloth on my bed, so I could look at it more closely…

Other scenes followed, now not directly connected to a specific church building. The one that I remember as I awoke this morning was something like this.

This time I was in an Orthodox environment, but in no particular church. I was just bidding farewell to an Eastern European new immigrant, a young man, a musician, who had just received some kind of blessing from the church. It seemed like he had been in need of a new musical instrument so he could support himself, and maybe the church had just helped him out in some way. He was beaming.

Then, he told me of his old dad, who was a farmer with one cow, who was not making it in life, but who thought that if he had two cows, things might go better for him. This problem was keeping him away from church, locked in a mental battle, because of a rule that they had in their church, that a man had the church’s blessing only to have one cow. The priest in his church would not give him a blessing to have two cows. So he was staying away from church. I decided to go and visit him.

I found the old farmer, sitting cross-legged on the wooden floor of a small, unfurnished room, literally a cubbyhole the size of a walk-in closet, drinking a bowl of soup. He was the image of poverty itself, clad in faded old work clothes. He didn’t speak to me at all. I stood in the doorway silently for a moment, as tears started welling up inside me, I’m not sure why. I leaned my head on the doorpost and said to him, ‘God loves us so much, that He’s done everything He can do to save us, and He doesn’t want it all to be wasted.

‘Don’t let this matter of having two cows get in the way of your salvation. If you want another cow and can buy it, go and buy it. Then, go to your priest and ask him for his blessing. If he refuses to give it, thank him, say “That’s alright, father, that’s alright,” pay your respects, and leave. Then, come to the Greek priest. He will give you the blessing, because we don’t have a ‘one cow’ rule.’

At that point, I woke up.

Though dreams can often be quite meaningless and usually are, this one has some meaning. Though in my dreams I often hear or speak verses from the Bible, in this dream it wasn’t an exact Bible verse I cited, but something like a conflation of maybe John 3:16 and Romans 8:32. And that was that. No wordy sermon, just an assurance of God’s love for us, and a practical work-around to get through the ‘toll-gates’ of the Church.

Yes, though the Kingdom of God is but one country, ‘on earth as it is in heaven,’ it seems that somebody thought this wasn’t good enough. The ‘inheritance of the saints’ has been divided and sub-divided, the ‘first and greatest commandment, and the second like unto it’ multiplied into hundreds of rules and regulations, and the ‘one Mediator between God and man’ replaced by a multitude of gate-keepers.

Dreams, I think, come from a combination of factors—what happened to you the day before, your mental or emotional state, what you’ve been reading or watching on television or PC, even the state of your digestion. This dream is no exception. But God can even use our dreams, sometimes, to speak something in our ears.

If He were speaking in this dream, what might He be saying?

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