A Dream for the New Year, Part 2 OF 4
This month we are running a four-part series where we articulate our dream for 2015. Retaining the ability to dream is an important part of holding onto our hope for something better, and part of envisioning a future in which we want to live.
My dream for this year begins where my goodbye ends. I want this year to be one of love - for life, of life. But in order for things to change, we need to start somewhere small. And the best place to start is with ourselves.
There are three main areas where I wish to see change in my context.
First, I would like to see the beginning of a Messianic Jewish humanism in 2015. As we’ve seen from a previous post, ‘humanism’ is a dirty word in our communities, Palestinian Christian and Messianic Jewish alike. But it doesn’t have to be. I think the problem arises when people see care for others devoid of God (or their idea of God), which is basically secular humanism. Even this doesn’t need to be threatening. We need to allow our conception of care to go beyond our ideas of God, because our ideas are limiting, particularly because they are our ideas of God and we are finite and fallible. Care for humans and human ethics is not limited to our particular community of faith, and many religious traditions have their own humanist twist, including Jewish humanism, Christian humanism, and others.
As Messianic Jews, we have our own approach to religion, and we find renewal in the ideas of tradition and redemption married in the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament. These texts are replete with calls of justice and care for the marginalized, and we would benefit from broadening our ethical discourse on God’s care for his creation and the response required from us. Expanding our horizon of focus could help guide us through the murky waters of contemporary politics and help us navigate our role as followers of the Messiah in an increasingly polarized and extreme nationalist context.
Our situation is not unique; we are simply a distinct and particular part of the universal human problem. If we want to be a light to the nations, if we want to engage in tikkun olam, then we need to start here. If we want to see a change in humanity, then we need to begin our engagement at home, and as we see change, bring this message to all nations.
Second, I would like to see Messianic Jews in general and Israeli Messianic Jews in particular begin to follow Jesus’ example to reach out to those on the margins, and even the national enemies of his people, which in our case is the Palestinians. Jesus’ response to them was to sit with them, eat with them, fellowship with them, even to the point he was questioned and ridiculed by those in his own community. We need to challenge our fears and discomforts and follow Jesus’ example by reaching across national boundaries and lines of enmity drawn by our communities. Be uncomfortable, break unjust laws, commit to active nonviolence in speech and action. Be willing to be subversive, to think differently, to do differently.
The third change I wish to see in 2015 is increased awareness of our power to affect change, and our responsibility to do so. These two are linked, I believe. The daily choices we make have effects on those around us. As Israeli Messianic Jews, we have a general awareness of the contemporary political situation and attempt some level of engagement in politics through voting, promoting social issues important to us, and even some national ones. Yet there is a strange contradiction in our community, as we do voice support of political issues, but for many, there is a general disbelief that things can improve or change as a result of our choices. There is an idea that things cannot change until the Messiah returns, or that things simply are becoming (or must become) worse and worse. I would like to see increased awareness of the effects of our beliefs and theology.
If we believe that God is good, God is redeeming, God is love, then the effects of our beliefs and theology should be good, redeeming and loving. Tied to this is our ability to change our present. God has given us minds, hands, feet to carry out his good, redeeming, loving work, and it is defeating and wrong to think that nothing can change until Messiah comes, or that the world is becoming worse. As images of God in the world, we are supposed to make things better, and we can do so. We make choices, and those choices can have positive or negative consequences for those around us. Be empowered, be aware; make good, redeeming and loving choices.
There are so many dreams for a new year, but I would like to see our dreams begin within ourselves, and as they do, they will grow. These small changes within ourselves can affect great change within society if only we will think better, do better, live better, and love better.
Goody Two Shoes:
I am not a big dreamer asleep or awake. Maybe because I am very practical and I live in the moment. I am busy with surviving. Because I can barely remember the asleep ones unless they are very frightening and my husband has to wake me up because I am struggling or mumbling or shouting. I will stick to the awake hopes and dreams.
As a child and even as an adult, I have been taught to 'Give Thanks in All Circumstances.' Be grateful for what you have, and let’s face it, I do have a lot.
To dream is to take a risk and even hope...... tough where I live, because I look around and do not see much hope. For me, hope is in the small things and the people, the wonderful people. My glass is always 'half full' and I would then add lots of people in it to fill it up.
Would I like to see things change? YES OF COURSE......for my children and their children if they ever get around to having any! Partners and grandchildren = big dreams, or are those big prayers? Are dreams prayers? Can they be? Should they be?
I don't like to think I have materialistic dreams in the sense of financial gain but maybe that is because I don't go to bed hungry (unless on a diet) and compared to most of the world, I am rich. My dreams/hopes/prayers/wishes are selfish, though, in so far as I don't want any of my family members to die or be maimed.
I would like to see equality for all, where the Kingdom of God is lived down here on earth. Will it happen? Doubtful, but I must always work towards this and against injustice which threatens to rob my peace inside and out.
I believe when we all get to heaven (those that are going) there won't be signs saying these types of people this way and those types of people that way. It will not matter as we will all be the same.
Thought: Wonder if I will dream tonight?