In the book of Acts, Paul had a vision during the night: a man from Macedonia called to him to come over and help them. So, convinced that God had called him to Macedonia through the dream, Paul mounted an expedition across the sea. The writer recounts the journey and how Paul came to Macedonia. In the city of Philippi, Paul and his companions went to worship on the Sabbath and met there among the worshipers a woman named Lydia. The Lord “opened her heart to listen eagerly” to what Paul had to say, and then she and her whole household (as would have been the custom) were baptized. And, she takes Paul and his friends into her home, becoming an early supporter of the mission of Jesus’ followers.
In our reading from the closing chapters of the Revelation to John, the narrator tells us that he was carried “in the Spirit” by an angel to the top of a high mountain. There, he was shown a vision of the new creation, the new Jerusalem coming down from heaven and God. It is filled with light, emanating from the Lamb and the throne of God in its center; everything and everyone there is completely clean. Through the middle of the city runs the crystal clear river of life, and beside the river is the abundantly fruitful tree of life. The servants of God gathered there are able to see God’s face, to be fully in God’s presence, forever.
The gospel reading for this week from John contains Jesus’ promise of the Holy Spirit. Just prior to where our lesson begins, one of the disciples, Judas (not Iscariot) had asked Jesus a question: “Lord, how is it you will reveal yourself to us, and not to the world?” Jesus did not reply directly, but told him that only those who love Jesus and keep his word would be able to receive him. Only to them would Jesus and his Father come and make a “home,” a relationship of being at home, together. Then Jesus told him that the Advocate, the Holy Spirit would come later to speak. The Holy Spirit would be the link between the past (when Jesus was among them) and the future (to which Jesus would call them). The Holy Spirit would remind them about the things Jesus had said and done and would teach them the things they would need to know in order to do the work in store for them.
We are no longer people who believe much in visions, and we don’t usually trust predictions about things to come. So how, then, can we grasp or understand these pieces of scripture? Think about it in this way: what are your dreams, the things you would do if you were not afraid and felt confident of your strength and resources? What would we do as the Cathedral Family if we felt this way? God is revealing himself to us through those dreams, if we will be open to them?