Here comes the dreamer.
Joseph may have been a little imprudent telling his brothers about his dream that seemed to indicate that one day they would bow down before him.
But dreams – real dreams – often provoke resistance since they propose a different world, a different arrangement of life and society.
I think of Martin Luther King’s dream as well as the dreams of Monseñor Oscar Romero. They dreamed of a world in which love and justice reigned.
Martin Luther King’s dream, expressed in his speech at the August 28, 1963 March on Washington, is well known:
…I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream… that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed, “We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal.”
I have a dream… that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave-owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream… that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream… that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they sill not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character…
I have a dream… [that] one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers….
I have a dream… that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain and the crooked places will be made straight, and glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.
In his July 17, 1977, Monseñor Romero expressed his dream:
The true protagonists of history are those who are most united with God, because with God’s viewpoint they can best attend to the signs of the times, the ways of Providence, the building of history. Oh, if we only had persons of prayer among those who oversee the fate of the nation and the fate of the economy! If, instead of relying on human devices, people would rely on God and on his devices, we would have a world like the one the church dreams of, a world without injustices, a world with respect for rights, a world with generous participation by all, a world without repression, a world without torture.
Dreamers threaten our security, our complacency. Both King and Romero were martyred.
But if we let ourselves listen to their dreams we may begin to dream and, even more, begin to work together to make their dreams a reality.
There is a quote attributed to Dom Helder Camara, the saintly and prophetic Brazilian bishop, another dreamer:
When we are dreaming alone, it is only a dream. When we are dreaming with others, it is the beginning of reality.
What am I dreaming these days? Am I dreaming with others? Am I dreaming the dreams of God for all God’s people here on earth?