The work of the church that seeks justice, the work of a single disciple of Christ who seeks to be about the works of justice … begins with two things: a humble question + an open heart.
The question: how do your dreams become mine also?
It is asking this one question and in seeking its answer, we begin to know the other. We begin to see, hear, feel, sense another person’s inner world, their passion, their inspiration; we begin to understand what makes someone other than ourselves … “tick.”
Most of the time, we won’t ever get to the place of knowing another’s dream. Most of the time, we have the learnings and abuses of life that stop us from asking this one question or sharing our answer when someone asks us. We rarely get the invitation to enter into another’s dream, or get asked to share ours.
The rarity of the desired experience doesn’t stop the disciple from the journey. I think of the early disciples who left their nets to follow Jesus, who sought to know God’s dream for all God’s people of grace, love, healing, peace … of justice … for all of God’s people. I’m pretty sure that the journey was not at all what they were expecting or hoping for — at all. I’m not even sure if they ever felt that they had truly engaged in Christ’s dream for them and us … but I do know that they were deep, abiding, transformed disciples who experience a love and grace that knew no bounds. And they were about the work of justice. Again and again. Justice for the leper. Justice for the tax collector. Justice for the child. Justice for the poor widow. Justice for the hungry. Justice for the immigrant. Justice for the houseless.
As we engage with those around us today, as we seek to know people’s longings, as we inquire about their dreams, as we live life and grow to understand their dreams, and maybe … as we share our dreams, and maybe as we walk side-by-side to live into another person’s dreams for themselves … we might become more like Christ.
We might become more like Christ as we work to hear other’s people dreams, to bring those dreams into our hearts, and to seek a world that would engender their dreams as reality.
That takes heart.
That takes commitment to enacting (often) systemic change and works of justice.
Because maybe a small child dreams of a full belly, or a parent dreams of a having a full pantry for family meals? These dreams? They take systemic change in Los Angeles County where the California Housing Partnership Corporation found that L.A. County rents have increased by nearly one-third (32 percent) since 2000:
“Families have to make very difficult choices about whether to pay for food or the rent,” says Cynthia Harding, interim director of the L.A. County Department of Public Health. “These are hard and awful decisions.”
So, first the question: how do your dreams become mine also? remembering ….
- We don’t attempt to change anyone’s dreams, or to place our dreams atop or onto or in place of anyone else’s.
- We don’t assume that we know anything of another’s experience in the world.
- We do ask from a place of humility.
- We do listen with open hearts.
- And then we do listen some more.
But, first the question: how do your dreams become mine also?