Listening to Our Dreams Matthew 1:18-26

Listening to Our Dreams Matthew 1:18-26

Listening to Our Dreams                                 Matthew 1:18-26

Have you ever had a dream that was so vivid it almost seemed like it was real?  Have you ever had a dream with an image or even a voice that seemed to linger in your mind even after you had awakened?  Have you ever felt as if maybe you were be guided in some decision through a dream?

After Trisha Coburn’s doctor told her she was in good health, Coburn said she had a dream in which a disembodied voice told her to “look deeper.” Fearful, the 46-year-old Coburn returned to her doctor and asked him to look into the deepest part of her body: her colon. She said the skeptical doctor’s examination detected colon cancer, treatable only because it had been detected early.  Listening to her dream saved Trisha’s life.

Kimberley C. Patton, professor of the comparative and historical study of religion at Harvard Divinity School, relayed this story of Trisha in one of her lectures to make a point about the power of dreams. Patton describes dreams as “a language of enigmatic parable” that Western culture generally prefers to dismiss. “There’s a devaluation of dreams in the West,” said Patton, something the ancients would have found incomprehensible.

Joseph, as in Mary and Joseph of the Christmas story, would have been one of those ancients who would have found dismissing dreams as incomprehensible.  The Gospel of Matthew records three different occasions where an angel speaks to Joseph in a dream.  One is before Jesus is born where the angel tells him not to break off his marriage to Mary.  Another time is when an angel tells him to flee to Egypt to protect Jesus from Herod, and a third time is when the angel lets him know it is ok to go back to Nazareth.  If Joseph had not been listening to his dreams Jesus might not have had a father, and might not have grown up safely to become the one who would save us from our sins while revealing God’s love for us.

Are there ways we could be more attentive to what our dreams might be telling us?  What if we did not simply dismiss our dreams, but listened to what they could be saying?  If we were more open to this, is it possible that God could be speaking to us through dreams even today?

-Pastor Erik Goehner