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April 24 Minister's Message

Updated: Apr 27

Several years ago, I was privileged to spend several days with theologian Sharon Daloz Parks, author of “Big Questions, Worthy Dreams”. We gathered for a Worthy Dream event hosted by the Fund for Theological Education out of Atlanta, where I served as a board member. The event grew out of a grant that made it possible for several of us as Senior Ministers from the Chicago area to meet over eighteen months. We considered how to help our congregations become cultures of community and care who nurture and encourage one another’s vocation and call by God.

The journey to Atlanta had itself been a worthy dream, that culminated unexpectedly with a spirit-led glimpse of God’s kingdom on earth as in heaven. You see, our seasoned, racially and gender diverse group of six senior ministers, invited six young pastors serving in their first five years of ministry, to engage in a conversation about strengthening the church. Over the course of several days, we talked about how to create mentoring communities.

Late one evening, after several days of deep conversation and no small amount of prayer, it was time to wrap things up. Yet no one moved. We sat in the conference room as if rooted to earth: six white, six African American, six male, six female, six very young ministers, six others past the mid-point of our careers. The Spirit moved, sparking the room in a way no words can adequately describe. A God thing, God’s dream of a future for the church began to emerge.

First, one stood to lead us in an unfamiliar song, then another rose to share a poem, a joke, a rap, a prayer. We spontaneously burst into harmony on several hymns we knew by heart. Much laughter began to spill, then tears.

An hour and change later we knew we had shared holy ground, and glimpsed God’s worthy dream of what life could be. And it was good. It was very good. We couldn’t have planned, orchestrated, or provoked what turned out to be a life-giving gift from God.

All worthy dreams are gifts from God. From the time of Abraham and Sarah for whom a dream of heirs more numerous than the stars emerged, we humans listen for God’s promises. What worthy dream does God place in your heart today? Does the thought of it energize you? Will the dream ultimately bless others? What do you need to actualize it?

All worthy dreams are a God thing. They are bigger than us. If we could fulfill our dream all by our lonesome, then our dream is too small. What dream has God placed in the imagination of your heart? You know the one. It tugs at you and won’t let you go. Do that thing. Go after it with relentless pursuit. God instills desire within us that can be satisfied no other way. Do that thing, whatever it is, for your joy and the glory of God.

Prayer: God of grace and wonder. I’m attached to routine and forget to look out and up. Open me to the fullness of life you intend and grant me the courage to receive it. Amen

God’s grace, mercy, and peace be with you,

Rev. Dr. Anna V. Copeland,

Senior Minister, Community Church of Vero Beach, Florida

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