The following post was first published on January 29, 2021. I’m running it again after being inspired by Brian Keepers’ blog, “Finding My Heart Again: A Dream for the Church,” posted on May 17, 2020 on The Twelve, a blog published by The Reformed Journal. I encourage those who are steeped in the Christian Church, or even put off by the current iteration of the Christian Church, to imagine their own dream for that body of believers and share it with others.
I Dream of a Church
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, 2021. (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 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 would be welcomed for the person he was and was becoming and not shelved by their negative and unwarranted 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 to preserve 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.