On Sunday, July 17th we read from the book of Genesis:
10 Jacob left Beer-sheba and went toward Haran.
11 He came to a certain place and stayed there for the night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place.
12 And he dreamed that there was a ladder set up on the earth, the top of it reaching to heaven; and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.
13 And the Lord stood beside him and said, “I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring;
14 and your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and all the families of the earth shall be blessed in you and in your offspring.
15 Know that I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”
16 Then Jacob woke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place—and I did not know it!”
17 And he was afraid, and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.”
18 So Jacob rose early in the morning, and he took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up for a pillar and poured oil on the top of it.
19 He called that place Bethel. —Genesis 28:10-19a
How is this (Genesis 28) our story?
Consider these questions about Jacob’s dream.
- Do you believe this story?
- Do you think that God has ever spoken to “mere mortals” in dreams?
- Do you think that God, to this day, uses dreams as one way to communicate with us?
- Do you know anyone who has dreamed and in that dream has heard God? If yes, do you believe what you have heard from this person? What clue(s) did the person use to know it was of God?
- Have you ever “heard” God in a dream? How did you know it was God?
- When was the last time God spoke to you in a dream?
These are a few of the questions that occur to me as I hear Jacob’s story. In the Sunday Morning Forum we shared our answers to some of these questions. We invite you to share your answers here as we continue to live in the light of this reading from Genesis. –djr
For further consideration and reflection
Consider that Jacob encountered God (v. 13), “a very personal Being.” within his dream, and was transformed. Dreams are mysterious in their power because of the One who meets us there at just the right time. —djr
Nearly midway into life I had come into a dark woods, into a blind alley. I found my way out of that stalemate through an understanding of dreams. I worked with a Jungian analyst, a Jew who had escaped from a Nazi concentration camp. He believed that the Holy One still spoke to both sleeping and waking human beings in dreams in the silence of the day and in the night. With his help I discovered that my dreams were wiser than my well-tuned rational mind and that they gave me warnings when I was in danger. They also described in symbols the disastrous situations in which I found myself. These strange messengers of the night also offered suggestions on how to find my way out of my lostness. When I followed these symbolic suggestions, much of the darkness lifted, and my situation no longer seemed hopeless. Many of my psychological and physical symptoms of distress disappeared.
In addition to all this, I found a very personal Being at the heart of reality who cared for me; my theological dry bones were covered with sinew and flesh. And then, as I continued to listen to my dreams, I experienced the risen Christ in a way that I had not thought possible. And last of all, I realized that the Holy One continued to knock on the doorway of my inner being in my dreams even when I paid no attention to them, and he would also be waiting for me when I deliberately opened the door of my soul to the risen Christ. Prayer, contemplation, and meditation, then, became real and necessary aspects of my life as I journeyed toward fulfillment and wholeness.
Morton T. Kelsey, God, dreams, and revelation,
Kindle edition, Preface (search: stalemate)