Joel 2:18, 28-30 (NIV)
Then the Lord will be jealous for his land
and take pity on his people.
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your old men will dream dreams,
your young men will see visions.
Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days.
I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth,
blood and fire and billows of smoke.
Like the human body, Earth has a huge innate capacity for healing. Doctors and ecologists may need to pin broken bones and try to eliminate pathogens, pollution and invasive species. Scientists can keep people and nature going with brilliantly designed chemicals, but the power of healing comes from the heart, soul, mind and strength within. Even plants have resilient personalities, from cheeky dandelions to serene oaks.
Seeing visions and dreaming dreams is a natural part of healing processes. Without a vision, the people perish. If seedlings and saplings do not have (in a plant-y sort of way) visions of future growth and if laden apple-trees and mighty sunflower seed-heads (not to mention dandelion-clocks) are not dreaming dreams of plenty, then I’m not a gardener!
But our imaginations themselves need healing. When Jesus came, many Jews were dreaming of freedom from the hated Roman occupiers: no wonder, for the Roman empire was ruthless and efficient. Jesus, however, shared the prophets’ vision of peace and harmony on God’s Holy Mountain and he wept over Jerusalem when his Way of redemptive love was rejected.
The good news is that Jesus’ vision and dream survived his humiliating death, and so the Church set out on this new Way, all of which is strong evidence for Jesus’ resurrection. When he quoted Joel on the day of Pentecost, however, Peter probably didn’t foresee that we would still be dreaming of a renewed Earth 2000 years later.
Humanity has been wrecking the biosphere’s vital systems and destroying the web of biodiversity. We would have continued along this broad path to destruction had not climate change shocked people wide awake.
At one minute to midnight, we’ve registered that we need to reverse direction (repent). We could even yet give Earth the gift of healing, but do we really, really want to change? Can we catch the vision of God’s dream for Creation?
we dream of a healed world
where we live in harmony with the rest of Creation.
By your wild, free Spirit, grant us
an empowering vision of living simply,
allowing Nature space.
And help us to be a bit wild and free,
like Jesus, as befits your children.