Episcopal Diocese of Rochester
Joy in Christ, a way of life

A Series of Hope / Advent week 3

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"The spirit of the Lord is upon me, who is John the Baptist who baptizes with water?"


Welcome to this third week of an Advent exploration of hope.


One of my favorite short poems is the poem Dreams by Langston Hughes.


Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.

Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.

Life without dreams is crippled, a flat, colorless landscape of hopeless drudgery. If all we can consider is what we see, then there is nothing to hope for.


But the good news is that God has a dream. He puts it in the young girl Mary’s mouth:


My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,

my spirit rejoices in God my Savior; *
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.

From this day all generations will call me blessed: *
the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name.

He has mercy on those who fear him *
in every generation.

He has shown the strength of his arm, *
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.

He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, *
and has lifted up the lowly.

He has filled the hungry with good things, *
and the rich he has sent away empty.

He has come to the help of his servant Israel, *
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,

The promise he made to our fathers, *
to Abraham and his children forever.


Our hope is not in what we can see, not in the world as it is, but in the world we can dream and, more importantly, in the world God dreams. Those who have dreams, who hold fast to dreams, are often scoffed at. Dreamers! Fantasists! But dreams empower possibilities and possibilities create new realities. No one ever left home or ever tried something new without dreaming of where it might lead, of how life might be changed.


The question is: Do we dream anymore? Do we look for new possibilities? Do we seek new realities that will change our lives? What rises up in your heart when you let your heart soften, when you allow yourself to dream?


Dreams and hope are closely entwined. In Scripture, dreams are sent by the Spirit of God and foretell new things. Without a dream, there is nothing to hope for.


What do you dream of? What empowers your hope?