“The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together. This is our hope… With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.” (Martin Luther King, 28 August 1963)
Martin Luther King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech – delivered 50 years ago this month – never fails to give me goosebumps. Maybe it’s because I’m a sucker for poetic language. Jangling discords of our nation. A beautiful symphony of brotherhood.
Maybe it’s because as I read the words, I can hear Dr King’s distinct southern drawl, its undulating cadence. Maybe it’s because the words paint a picture of a broken place, but point towards hope.
What are dreams, anyway? As Martin Luther King delivered these now famous words, was he merely hoping for the impossible? Had he already seen glimpses of this new earth in the day-to-day and were his words therefore an effort to encourage people to bring to pass what at the time seemed light years away? Was he painting a prophetic picture? Was he merely wishing?
At birthdays, we wish. As we blow the candles out, we wish and hope for the coming year. I find myself writing in friends’ birthday cards the wish that the coming 12 months would bring them joy; that it would bring them success, laughter and good things.
This weekend is threads’s first birthday. We are one.
In the months before the birth of threads, we planned and hoped and had dreams and visions for what it would become. But like with any one-year-old – the person it has become by its first birthday is very different to how it was in the womb.
In so many ways, threads has surpassed our expectations, drawing together so many new friends who have joined us on the journey. It has developed its own personality and often surprised us with the places it’s reached. It’s challenged and infuriated; it’s made us cry and laugh, and it’s made us hope.
But we are still dreaming about what it is yet to become. Our dream is about more than just a blog, really. We’ve got big dreams and visions about the glorious Church – that’s what all this is for.
As John had visions on the island of Patmos of “a new heaven and a new earth” (Revelation 21:1), we’re hoping that all things will be made new.
Our dream is that the Church will be a place that keeps its doors wide open.
Our dream is that its people won’t be self-indulgent and inward-looking, focussed only on their own status, but that their eyes would be turned outwards.
Our dream is that we’ll all be in one place – not segregated by class or race or age or bank balance.
Our dream is that the Church would be a safe place to ask questions, while neither feeling the need to have all the answers, nor idolising the questioning.
Our dream is that the Church will point towards the better way – for justice, for politics, for society, for friendships, work and money.
Our dream is that the Church will be a place where stories are told of broken things made whole.
“Then I saw ‘a new heaven and a new earth’, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying: ‘Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and He will dwell with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God.'”
What’s your dream for the Church?