Canadian Astronaut Chris Hadfield, Space Commander of Expedition 35, is very popular in Canada. He charmed us with his singing and strumming his guitar in the Space Station on March 17, 2013. When asked by Maclean Magazine about his space experience, he jokingly replied that he is still dreaming in the day time. Joke or not, his quick-witted response stayed with me. Well, with a name like Daniel Paul, and a subject like dreaming, what do you expect? By the way, I must be biased or something, he has good choice, singing “Oh Danny Boy.”
Whether a King like Nebuchadnessar or a slave from Israel like Daniel, all men are created equal, endowed by their creator, and we all dream. It is not easy, but let us try to dismantle the super halo normally ascribed to Bible Characters. Imagine “Neb” and Daniel as ordinary human beings with like passions for a few minutes. Turn the clock back to 600 BC. Neb had a dream one night, and by morning, forgot the content of the dream. He could not get over it and his wise men could not reconstruct his dream either. Do not miss the fact that God, who is no respecter of persons, was graciously dealing with a pagan autocrat. This might surprise some, God was taking time to show Neb prophetic events to come, of course, using his faithful servant Daniel to interpret. It took years but the dream came true. Historically we know that, years later, a group of wise men from that region, aided by the stars, took a journey to Bethlehem, seeking the baby king (perhaps a future blog post).
A destitute runaway, Jacob, dreamt about a stairway from earth to heaven with angels going up and down. Furthermore, God assured Jacob a safe return home. It took some years, but the dream became a reality. Once again, God used a dream to fulfill his purpose. Finally, we have none other than Joseph the Dreamer. The dream initially brought him untold calamity from his brothers, but eventually it came to pass. The point of all these is God used dreams to show His plans as well as to encourage the dreamers to continue on in faith. The dream was the whole; Neb, Jacob, Daniel and Joseph were the parts.
Now fast-forward to a modern day dreamer – a black clergyman, the late Dr. Martin Luther King. Famously titled “I have a dream” and he interpreted it 50 years ago at Washington, D.C. This dream was not a one night event with his head on a pillow. He day-dreamed all his life, though for a short while. Wonderfully, others started dreaming along with him too.
That dream became an historic movement. Let us not take it lightly, in that we are live witnesses of a “partial” fulfillment of that dream, with another black man and family currently occupying the White House in Washington D.C.
I was curious to find out more about Hadfield, the famous astronaut. He grew up like any ordinary Canadian boy, on a farm near Sarnia, Southern Ontario. He was inspired, though young, watching the Apollo moon landing. We can see how the dream flowed seamlessly into his life. He joined the Canadian Air Force, studied engineering, and became a fighter pilot. The day dreaming continued and blossomed till he commanded the space station.
Reverently, Jesus was a dreamer too. The mission of redemption consumed him. Throughout his life, he carried the dream of a kingdom in his bosom until, finally, he gathered enough strength and breath at the cross, to shout victoriously: “It Is Finished!” He imparted that dream to a group of no-name men and, through them, turned the whole world right side up. The dream continues.
What about us? Do we dream? It is never too early and never too late. What I write in my blog, I encourage my grandchildren to day dream, like Chris Hadfield, the boy from Sarnia. We must resist negativity. St. Peter said: “In the last days, I(God) will pour out my spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, and your old men (and women) will dream dreams.”
After all, is this not what the good book says? Train up a child….to dream?
God bless, Danny Paul