“I never dreamt there would be a 3-foot snowstorm with blizzard conditions in September,” I heard from folks in MT over the weekend. To those who suffered losses due to the storm, may God strengthen and support you during these times of recovery.
“I never dreamt that I’d be able to be a pastor in the church.” I heard this again and again from seminarians and graduates who received the ELCA Fund for Leaders Scholarship at a banquet in Chicago last Friday. This scholarship from the ELCA pays full tuition for our future pastors, removing expense as a reason to not be able to go to seminary, and allows them to enter their parishes and ministries with far less student debt.
“I never dreamt when I started the LPA program that I’d be sitting in Chicago with my bishop.” Wendy McAlpine, an LPA SAM from Sunburst, said this to me after receiving the Fund for Leaders Renewal Ministry Scholarship that is helping her to go through the TEEM program so that she can continue serving the mission of the gospel in Montana.
“I never dreamt I’d be elected bishop,” many of my new colleagues and I said at our conference of bishops meeting this past week in Chicago.
What things have you “never dreamt could happen to you?” That’s an odd question, right, since if you haven’t dreamt them, how can you know what they are? But even though we might have never dreamt them, I can assure you that the Holy Spirit has indeed dreamt them for us. “In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams,” Peter proclaims during his Pentecost sermon. (Acts 2:17)
The Holy Spirit is working among us in the Montana Synod, stirring things up, blowing breezes and blizzards through congregations and ministries, dreaming dreams for us even when we can’t seem to dream them ourselves. The Holy Spirit is opening up new opportunities in the lives of our churches and creating new possibilities for us as the followers of Christ to do things we never dreamt could happen. We just need to “let go and let God” lead us in the direction the Spirit is dreaming us. For as long as we hold onto our anxieties and fears, our angers and distrust, our despair and division, the Spirit faces too many barriers to break through and lay dreams on our hearts, minds and spirits effectively.
So I invite you to open yourself to the Spirit’s dreamings and let the hope of those Spirit-led dreams in. For I am living proof that the Spirit dreams us into possibilities we would never have dreamt for ourselves. In the same way the Holy Spirit dreamt you into electing me your bishop, dreamt financial support for future pastors, dreamt followers of Christ in this Synod into the LPA program, into the TEEM program and into leading congregations as pastors and deacons, the Holy Spirit is dreaming new possibilities for you. In the new life given to us in Christ, let us dream together the Spirit’s dreams into God’s world through faith, hope and love.
Empowered in the Spirit’s dream, your bishop, Laurie Jungling