He 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.” But 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?” So his brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the matter in mind. Genesis 37
So far in Genesis we have encountered creation, how God sang all that is seen and unseen into being. How God sunk God's fingers into the soil and breathed the breath of life into us. How Adam and Eve hid from God, prompting that great spiritual question, "Where are you?" from God...a question that we will never be able to answer or exhaust fully. We heard about violence begetting violence in Cain and Abel. We studied how God appeared under a star-filled sky. Now, we land in this great narrative of Joseph. Joseph was a dreamer.
On one level we all have dreams...both the literal kind that happen when we fall asleep at night...as well as prayers for our future. I remember in Introduction to Psychology in college, the professor was studying dreams asking, "Why do you have to lose consciousness?" The class said, "Well, maybe our eyes need a rest from all the visual stimulation." "Okay," the professor said, "But why do we fall unconscious? Why don't we just shut our eyes and try to relax? Why sleep?" That is a great question. I wonder if we need that mental break, especially in a world where we are constantly being subjected to stimuli...visually and verbally and within our own minds. Maybe sleep is the only way to disengage fully from all that is happening around and within us.
I also think our brain might need a place where all that we experience can come together in some bizarre ways. Our mind has a way of taking that tense moment, combining it with our fear about an upcoming presentation, and how much clowns freak us out...suddenly, we are giving a talk to a room of clowns who are booing us. Dreams do show us some deep parts of our consciousness, but is that where we find God? For some reading this, yes. For others, no. Some dreams can leave us feeling icky all day long...others reassure us.
Dreams happen not only at night...but in broad daylight when we hope and pray and envision a new reality. Scripture says that yesterday need not be like today and tomorrow is a new creation. We trust in this promise, but we need dreams and hopes to keep us trusting and leaning into God's grace to guide us...sometimes leading us in new places. Joseph is lead to a new place...albeit because his brothers sold him! Sometimes we go unwillingly to new places too.
I encourage you in these fall days to keep open to our dreams and where God might (and might not) be moving in our midst. May we sense the traces of God's grace as we do so!
Blessings and peace ~