Monday, December 16, 2013


I'm writing a sermon for Sunday about Kairos - God's eternal time.  In its ancient Greek meaning, Kairos also has another meaning – the right or opportune moment.  It is the ever-present breakthrough moment in God's time that must be seized in times of moral crisis to act in history as God demands.  Such was the moment of Christ's birth.  But there are and will be others.   The German theologian Paul Tillich described Kairos in this way – " a very special time fraught with decisive consequences for good or evil when momentous things are happening, new possibilities arise, more degrees of freedom emerge, and the opportunity to seize the moment appears."

I should be working on that sermon about Joseph, dreams, and Kairos moments, but last night I had a dream about an ultimate global Kairos moment.  And this morning I find myself thinking about what to do about it.  For I do believe that God speaks to us in dreams - not just to Joseph - and that, in those dreams, a path sometimes beckons. So it is this morning.

I'll spare you all the details, but in my dream I had been posted – not clear if by my old State Department or the Church – to a prestigious American think tank (I had once, to Carnegie).  Almost immediately I was sent  to an even more prestigious global think tank on – of all places - a tropical island.  There I joined a team of much brighter folks and we talked about our specific projects for each of which the others were especially well suited.  I wanted to study China, but had no appropriate academic background or language skills.  I would, I thought, have to think deep thoughts about Germany.  Then we were informed that we were to think even bigger thoughts – outside the constraints of our academic boxes – about the world which was facing a global transformative challenge – a Kairos moment.  As the morning the morning light began to wake me, I focused on the bright ocean horizon.

Wide awake, I found myself thinking about of the nature of the global Kairos moment that indeed faces us.  I thought of how I had gone to sleep with a phrase in mind – Occupy the Vatican!  Occupy the Church!  I thought of the anarchist critique in The Coming Insurrection and the nature of the transformative moment...the end stage of a no longer sustainable capitalism bereft of any concern for community, the greedy few feeding now on the engines of their prosperity – the very antithesis of Shalom; the fading power of Western civilization, its moral underpinnings crumbling, its creativity sapped, relying now on brute force, and finding even that insufficient to the moment; the hollowing out of the moral and political institutions of that civilization and the futile efforts of their leaders to preserve the facades of their Potemkin villages and the trappings of their power, as more and more people laugh at the lack of clothes on politicians concerned only with polls and campaign funding and pastors concerned only with "church growth," careers, and rules and regulations.  And then I thought of a leader - a churchman, at that - a man named Francis, seeking, it seems, to seems, to seize the moment, to rescue us from its grayness, to show us the possibility of a brighter dream.  I read his message for the January 1 World Day of Peace ( - brought to my attention by a rabbi - and, having just re-read his longer exhortation on "The Joy of the Gospel" (, I can again feel hope these closing days of Advent.

Surely this is a Kairos moment calling for creative thought and dramatic action, lest we continue to sleep walk through the bad dream of our reality.  Is it possible to wake from that reality to the brighter dream just beyond the horizon?  What lies there?  What is possible?  Pausing, I think of that closing hymn yesterday – "I want to walk in the reign," of Soweto, Gdansk, Tienanmen, and the Bronx behind us, of a God beside us bringing justice and healing .  I think of how we walked out the door of our little walled church yesterday afternoon, beyond our once narrow horizons, to a world that needs justice and healing…and how I felt God there beside us as we brought a measure of each to those who need it…including ourselves.

Does God talk to us in dreams?  Yes, I believe God does.


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