My new year’s wish for you: That you dream. Dream boldly. Dream audaciously. And let those dreams change you and the world around you in some ways this coming year.
I know that dreamers are not viewed kindly by those who think that the world can’t be changed. We got a reminder of that mindset this month on the 35th anniversary of John Lennon being murdered with a gun. He imagined a better world and invited us to dream it into reality, and look where it got him.
It’s true that many people have committed their lives bringing peace and healing to the world. And there are others who think of dreamers with disdain.
Dreamers? Ignore them. They’re fools. Out of touch with reality. They need to get real. That’s not how the world is. You can’t change it.
It’s always been that way. Those who benefit from the status quo resist change. Others have lost their capacity to envision something better. Some have fallen into despair or indifference and given up.
They’ve misplaced the divinely infused ability to dream.
Throughout human history, dreamers have shown us better ways to get along. They’ve dedicated their lives to leading us there, even as the cynics told them it’s futile. Dreamers have always pointed the way.
Way back when, dreamers imagined that people could live in places other than caves – there must be a way to build more suitable living spaces. As humans advanced, the dreamers among us imagined societies run by laws instead of brutality. They eradicated diseases and created machines that could allow us to fly so high that we would visit other worlds.
And at every turn, they were scoffed at, told they were foolish dreamers who needed to get real and just accept things as they are. Don’t imagine anything better.
Last week, many Christians celebrated the birth of a dreamer who imagined the world run by God’s values. A place where everyone is treated as an equally beloved child of God. A world in which we share everything with the needy, treat the stranger as a friend, forgive the inevitable hurts inflicted upon us, heal with compassion, and transform enemies by loving them instead of fighting them.
Yep. Jesus was a dreamer, all right. And his dream was so big and so bold and so challenging that it got him killed, and that’s no surprise. After all, dreamers make us uncomfortable. They force us to take a real look at our lives and our world. They challenge us to sacrifice to make it better.
They try to make us more real.
They point out that hatred will always fail to make things better – just look at our history. They remind us that the solution to too much violence, too much war and too many weapons will never be more violence, more war and more weapons. They teach us that what’s in our hearts is what we bring into the world – and it’s on us to change.
So many of our attitudes and choices have failed. It’s time to imagine something different.
Imagine. Dream. And change.
In this coming year, may we have the determination and the courage to dream. May we dream big and bold, and try as best we can to express those dreams in peaceful and compassionate and healing relationships.
And may we challenge others to dream as well. To become people who transform the many evils in our world with imagination and a commitment to something better.
Let us dream.