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Friday, February 24, 2017

Today's Scripture Reading | Daniel 7:9–10, 13–14

As I watched, thrones were set in place, and an Ancient One took his throne, his clothing was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool; his throne was fiery flames, and its wheels were burning fire. A stream of fire issued and flowed out from his presence. A thousand thousands served him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood attending him. The court sat in judgment, and the books were opened. As I watched in the night visions, I saw one like a human being coming with the clouds of heaven. And he came to the Ancient One and was presented before him. To him was given dominion and glory and kingship, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not pass away, and his kingship is one that shall never be destroyed. (NRSV)

In the first year of King Belshazzar, Daniel had a dream and it freaked him out. I get it. Once I had a dream where I was running away from, well, something, and the only way to get to safety was through a little door about two feet tall, and when I tried, the door kept getting smaller and . . . well, anyway when I woke up my heart was racing and I was totally freaked out. So, yeah.

Anyway, Daniel saw some disturbing things in his dream—eagles getting their wings pulled off, bears with tusks eating people, four-headed leopards with wings, horns with human eyes, Jacob Marley wearing the chains he’d forged in life (OK, maybe not that last one, but you get the idea). And in the middle of all these rampaging monsters, the dismembered eagles and winged leopards, and the Black Beast of Arrrggh (again, maybe not that last one), Daniel sees a guy on a throne who makes it all stop and puts someone good in charge.

What a trip, huh?

The thing about dreams is that they give our fears flesh and blood and wings and teeth and chains and all that. They make the ideas into things; your fears physically rise up and stalk you. But they also give substance to those things you hope for, wish for, yearn for—those things that may not be visible now in the real world but are vital and alive in your dreams. They are often the only things that make the rest of it bearable.

Daniel had his world ripped apart, his country conquered, his home was gone. No wonder his dreams were full of marauding monsters. But he also saw the realization of his hope—the defeat of the monsters and the restoration of a just world.

The world is full of bad things. There are monsters out there. We see them every day. But hope is as real as fear, even if it’s harder to get to, even if its realization is on the other side of a very tiny door.

Lord, when our fears turn into monsters, remind us that hope is no less real and is even more powerful. Let us live in hope. Amen.

Written by Rob Koon, Coordinator for Fine Arts

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