Inspired by a Langston Hughes poem, I Dream of a World, NPR’s Morning Edition resident poet Kwame Alexander and host Rachel Martin suggested that listeners write their way out of the unprecedented events of the past year and into a space of possibility. After the poems were submitted, Alexander took lines from some of the pieces and created a community crowd-sourced poem. Alexander and Martin read the poem on air on January 28. (You can find the story on the Morning Edition website.)
I happened to be lying in bed waiting for my back and leg to be somewhat influenced by pain medication so I could start my morning. I tuned in just as they started reading; I was in tears before they finished.
That joyful experience prompted me to start my own poem called, I Dream of a Church which follows. I would love readers to use the comment section to submit their own lines of poetry to complete what I share below. I will add them to the poem and re-publish at a later date.
I Dream of a Church
I dream of a church where the Holy Spirit carries gracious power and sprinkles it into the souls of believers – and the power of money and tradition and multi-generational membership is shattered and swept out the door.
I dream of a church where theology is wrapped in so much love that when people disagree love wins.
I dream of a church where gratitude is the oxygen that fills the sanctuary and makes breathing in the atmosphere a blessing.
I dream of a church whose members are on a pilgrimage, walking toward lives of deep companionship with Jesus, inspired by other pilgrims (past and present).
I dream of a church where awe and wonder float and settle in the hearts of believers.
I dream of a church where my proud black husband could be welcome for the person he was and not because he filled people’s expectations.
I dream of a church where shared pain, sorrow, disappointment, and doubt are welcomed, held in careful hands, and then returned, blessed by grace and understanding.
I dream of a church where the words and lived experiences of a Howard Thurman or a John Lewis or a Sojourner Truth are as much revered as those of a Billy Graham or a Richard Foster or Barbara Brown Taylor.
I dream of a church where shards of beliefs and traditions of world religions are not stomped on but are appraised like diamonds and saved in a jewelry box created for thoughts worth considering.
I dream of a church where no member is helpless or hopeless or hungry or homeless because fellow disciples, filled with empathy and love, take action.