Here comes this Dreamer by Hierald Kane-Osorto
Spirited Reflection — Sunday, August 10, 2014
Hierald Kane-Osorto is currently the National Program Director at the Lutheran Volunteer Corps. A peacemaker, cultural worker, lover of justice, living out each day made anew.
“They said to one another, here comes this dreamer!” (Genesis 37:19)
As I read through the story of Joseph in Genesis 37, I couldn’t help but hear the lyrics from John Lennon’s Imagine, “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.” Both texts (Genesis 37 and I Kings 19) serve as a reminder that in dreaming there is an even greater calling to justice and an imagining and reclaiming of the world as it should be, the kin-dom of God. Joseph’s dreams were not only a prophetic gift from God, but a journey towards seeking and claiming justice for his community.
Dreaming gives us the framework to believe that justice is a calling for all of God’s people and is embodied through the understanding that all of God’s creation is beloved. As a member of multiple communities I’ve found myself at the intersections of the many complex narratives of my brothers and sisters marginalized by their social class, race, gender, sexuality, religion, and citizenship. In every community I’ve encountered, been invited into, or been a part of, I’ve discovered something consistent: that each person continues to dream. Dreaming isn’t necessarily a constant because it feels good, but rather because it is about our very livelihood. We dream because we understand that we are created in the image of God and that God’s kin-dom is indeed a reality in this world today.
Our call to justice is an opportunity to embrace the wilderness like Elijah who experienced this with God during a time of solitude and fear. The amazing part of this story is that God was not visible in the place one would expect such as in a mighty fire, wind, or earthquakes, but in the “sound of sheer silence.” It is in this sheer silence and solitude that the Holy Spirit also speaks to us. Sitting in this silence allows us to dream that justice is a demand that is made of God’s people, and a desired outcome of a God who loves all people. It is a call to walk with communities whom are often found on the margins and to also be with those in the center of some of the very systems that create the injustices we encounter. This duality is what dreaming allows us to embrace. It is what Sharon Welsh calls us to when she says, “we need differences to see injustices that are fundamental, and constitutive of a political, ethical, or religious system.”
We end our lectionary this Sunday with Jesus taking a moment to go to the mountain by himself to pray (Matthew 14:23). It is important to note that the text says he was there alone because our call for justice is also a call to sit in the stillness, to listen to the quiet whispers of the world alone and to uncover God’s presence. This is solitude not as a means of being distraught, but solitude as a means of rediscovering God, and of reclaiming the good news that we are never truly alone. God is always with us in our pursuits of adventurous holy dreams even when like Peter, we ask God to show us that this is the real “thing.” Justice is about “believing in the things yet to be seen”, an opportunity to embrace the wilderness, the silence of the mountaintop, and to be dreamers like Joseph.