As we celebrate this Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, we turn our thoughts to the importance of dreaming. Not the kind of dreaming we do in our sleep, but the kind of dreaming that involves imagining. Like the prophets of the Old Testament, Dr. King imagined the possibility of a world that would more closely reflect God’s will. The words of his famous “I Have a Dream Speech” echo the dreams of the Prophets, most notably Isaiah. Consider this comparison:
I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers. (Dr. King)
The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
and the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
and a little child shall lead them.
The cow and the bear shall feed;
their young shall lie down together;
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. (Is 11:6-7)
The Prophet Joel told us that, when God’s Spirit is poured out among us, that our “old men shall dream dreams” and our “young men shall see visions.” (Joel 2:28) On this holiday, let us renew our commitment to be dreamers – imagining what a renewed world can and should look like and then follow those dreams to lay the foundation for tomorrow’s reality – a reality that more closely reflects the Reign of God in our midst!
A good source for “fueling” this type of dreaming is Catholic Social Teaching. Here is a brief article I wrote about Catholic Social Teaching in which I emphasize how it takes imagination (i.e. being a dreamer) to recognize Jesus in the hungry, the thirsty, the homeless, etc. Also, here are some helpful resources for teaching Catholic Social Teaching.
Finally, here is a good article about how Dr. King was “Christ-inspired” which quotes a friend of mine, F. DeKarlos Blackmon, who is the head of the Knights of Peter Claver. Well-said, DeKarlos!