The Declaration of Independence still inspires us, because it articulates the vision for these United States of America. Likewise, the Constitution entrenches our core values and life goals. In these two documents we inherit the dream of the founding generation. Each subsequent generation has advanced that same dream along different fronts. Fifty years ago a generation dreamed into being a Civil Rights Act that further loosened the knot of racial inequality. We continue to dream into reality “liberty and justice for all.”
Today we hear God’s dream in the story of Abraham’s slave finding Rebekah to be Isaac’s wife. And we hear God’s dream in Jesus’s words of invitation: “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”
God dreamed All Saints’ into existence 102 years ago. It was a very good dream that began in the basement of the Pine Inn! Over the decades the dream has been embodied in many different ways. The first building was beautiful, but too small. So we sold it to the city and built this extraordinary building and created our beautiful campus. We founded, and later set free, several missions, the most recent being Epiphany, which—along with the CSUMB college ministry—is now a diocesan mission.
In addition to dreams, for nations and congregations, God nurtures a vision for each of us and for our families. During my recent sabbatical, I searched the silence for God’s dream for me, and discerned four life goals. They are found in the current newsletter and in today’s Weekly.
God’s I-Have-a-Dream for Rick Matters is:
- To be guided and formed by the worship, teaching, and presence of the crucified and risen Jesus Christ
- To welcome and respect each person as bearing the image of God
- To participate in a lifelong dynamic of formation, maturation, and healing
- To lovingly serve others and to strive for social justice
What is God’s dream for you at this phase in your life?
Let us imagine God’s dream for All Saints’ following the four steps of my personal goals. Those steps are 1) Jesus Christ, 2) Relationships, 3) Abundant Life, and 4) Self-Giving. In listening to this I-Have-a-Dream for All Saints’, you might discern God’s vision for you, or for your own congregation, if you are visiting today.
My people: I, the Lord your God, have a dream for you. Listen to my dream for All Saints’, Carmel.
Number One: Jesus Christ
First, I have a dream that tourists and neighbors of all ages learn how much I love them because of the way you follow my Son. I foresee All Saints’ celebrating Jesus Christ with such joy that the fireworks of your faith draw people to this congregation. I dream that you boldly proclaim Jesus as Lord in such a way that people of every religion see and feel my love. For the eternally begotten and the enfleshed Word of God presents my comprehensive and inclusive love for all people. I have a dream that your beautiful liturgy is a light to the nations and a beacon to the lost.
Number Two: Relationships
I have a second dream, says God, that when people come to your doors, they already know that you treasure them as unique human beings. Your radical hospitality confirms my people as being precious. As Rebekah welcomed the servant of Abraham at the gate, so you welcome and incorporate babies, children, youth, families, singles, middle aged, and retired people of many nationalities and races. Love them through my Son.
Number Three: The Abundant Life
I have a dream that you stretch out your arms and reach forth your hands to partake of the abundant life in which your brokenness is healed, your thirst to learn is quickened, your yearning to teach is satisfied, and your courage to take risks knows no bounds. I dream that All Saints’ serves as a learning community in which people know the height and depth, the length and breadth, of the mystery that I am. I want you to grow and mature spiritually all the days of your life. I give you my life that you may have life abundantly.
Number Four: Self-Sacrifice
Finally, I dream of you as a life-giving community that empties itself for the sake of others. I dream that your care for one another brings comfort, that your justice feeds my people from Carmel to Haiti to Africa. I dream that you wear the yoke of Jesus to such a degree that the weary know they are loved. I dream that people with heavy burdens write thank-you messages like this one from twelve high schoolers and their chaperones who were stuck last Friday and found overnight shelter at All Saints’. To All Saints’ Episcopal Church: Thank you all so much for allowing us to stay the night at your beautiful parish. I honestly don’t know what we would have done otherwise. It was a blessing on a most rainy day. We wish you all the best! Fond regards, Hugh, Livery, Newell, Joseph, Alex, Payton, Julia, Sofia, Novell, Amy, and Trichina.
I dream that my gentle heart extends from this church to my day school and that my humble spirit reaches to Santa Lucia, as you lovingly serve the two missions I have given you. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
The Rev. Rick Matters, preached at All Saints’ Episcopal Church, Carmel