Painting by Simon Dewey
I had a dream about playing follow the leader last night.
Then as I listened to the gospel reading in worship this morning the words hit me in the most profound way.
Mark 8:31-38 Jesus Predicts His Death
31He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. 32He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.
33But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. "Get behind me, Satan!" he said. "You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men."
34Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35For whoever wants to save his life[c] will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? 37Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? 38If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father's glory with the holy angels."
Earlier in the week I'd read the gospel reading for the upcoming Sunday in preparation for the children's message I do each week. I'd read so much about the promises of God, that I'd decided to go in that direction for my short message. I'd looked at the Gospel reading, but I'd missed the part about Jesus asking everyone to simply follow after him. Take up what who you are and what you have (cross) and follow me.
The night before I'd had a dream about playing follow the leader. I was walking through a neighborhood full of families and children, inviting them to join me for a youth event at the church. When we arrived at the building, I was amazed to see how many people had come along. In fact, in my dream I remembering being worried that I did not have enough snacks and activities for everyone to participate.
A person pulled me aside and gushed of the the number of people who were there and immediately began thinking of ways they could start working and doing different things. I refused, and told the person that these people were our guests and we needed to serve them. They tried to argue, but I stood my ground and the people were treated well and enjoyed the time there. Funny too, there were enough snacks and crafts for everyone to participate. At this point in the dream, I woke up and got ready for my own morning of worship.
I'd hesitated to write about this dream and the timeliness of it arrival, because I thought some might think its strange. However, I felt compelled to write about it this afternoon as I continue to try and sort its meaning out. Getting me to ask questions might be part of this dream's purpose.
As I sat in the choir loft this morning listening to the words,
"Take up your cross and follow me."
I heard them in a new way.
I started asking questions:
"God, was this just a dream?",
"God who do you want me to go to?"
"God, how will I lead?".
A long time ago, my friend and mentor Grace talked to me about leading. She said, "The leader just has to lead."
Her words seemed too simple and somehow complex at the same time. Today, in remembering her words, they still seem that way. I'm thankful for her encouragement to help me stand up and simply put one foot in front of the other. Some days that is all you need to do. But, honestly when I really consider leading I know I can't be the one very first in line. I need to better follow one step, one moment, and one dream at a time.
I'm still pondering all the meaning in my last dream and that is OK. I'll continue following my leader, Jesus.
Gene Rocha Photography
Have you ever had a dream that seemed more than just a dream? What did you do with it? How did it effect you? How did it effect others when they heard it?