God the Dreamer

I was on retreat this weekend at St. Placid Priory, a wonderful Benedictine women’s community in Lacey where I am an Oblate.  It was our annual oblate weekend retreat.  The retreat theme was inspired by the feast of Pentecost which Christian churches celebrated yesterday.

I had an interesting prayer experience connected to my previous post on dreaming.  We opened on Friday night with a group praying of lectio divina with a passage from Joel.  The line that stopped me was from 2:28: “and the old shall dream dreams.”  I let myself be with that image for a while and the first thing that stirred in me was a question: What if the old dream more dreams because they are preparing to enter the Great Night and the Great Dream?  I lingered with the tantalizing image of death as entering a greater night and greater dream than what we grasp in this world. 

I continued to sit with the passage and listened for the invitation.  Then I began to wonder, what if God is the Great Dreamer?  I believe very deeply that our dreams come from God and can reveal new things to us about how we are called to be.  But for some reason I never before have imagined God as a Dreamer (in the sleeping sense) as well.  Yet, since we are created in the image of God, it would seem to follow.  If dreams are for our health and wholeness, as I believe they are, perhaps this is another way of looking at the collective unconscious that Jung wrote about.  Since the language of art and dreams and intuition in many ways seem to reveal the holy better than logic and reason can, what if when we dream we turn ourselves inside out, dive deep into the ocean of the night, and participate for a time in God’s Great Dream? 

~Christine Valters Paintner

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