Each January I ask the Lord for a new spiritual focus for the year. I pray the theme will increasingly permeate my life as the months go by. Here are recent themes...A Slave of Christ (2013), Better to Give Than to Get (2014), Keep in Step with the Spirit (2015), Listen and Love (2016), This is the first time I've received the theme through a dream. So this explanation is longer than normal. You could just scroll down for the interpretation. Here's the story of my theme for 2017.
On Saturday, January 14, 2017 at 6:25 AM I wrote the following...
I rejoice in God my Maker! I woke at 4:30 this morning to use the restroom. At first, I was amused by the dream I awoke from. Unable to sleep, I lay in darkness contemplating it. The more I considered, the more I became persuaded this dream is from above. Only four days have passed since I completed my annual seven day fast. There were three scenes that I will describe as three acts and then offer an interpretation.
I am five people deep in a shoulder to shoulder crowd pressed along a curb's edge as though waiting for a parade. We stand in shadows under an overpass. The figures of those in front are illuminated by daylight coming from our right. They are hipsters in their late 20s with bright faces. They look over their shoulders to call us to attention. The rest of us are grey silhouettes.
I am walking alone on the sidewalk we stood on earlier, east of our gathering point. The sky is high and light gray. The sidewalk borders a broad industrial road with no activity. There is a head-high chain-link fence between the road and the sidewalk. The road T’s into another broad road void of vehicles. There is a street sign marking the intersection. The chain-link fence turns left blocking off the road I came from. The perpendicular road abuts a long four-story cement wall. 100 yards to my left an overpass crosses the road.
There are a dozen pale people shuffling at a zombies pace along either side of the road. This scene is interrupted by a brightly clothed young man moving towards me from my left along the fence at a double time pace. He is one of the illuminated figures from the first scene. With wide eyes and a flushed face, he snaps his fingers to a West Side Story crouch-walk-dance. He paces past me within an arm's length. He locks eyes with me...to beckon me. Once he passes, I notice clusters of people in his wake.
Every few seconds another group of dancers passes me in a chaotic procession. Everyone enjoys their own up-tempo, dance-step. I notice the only man/woman pairing in the approaching crowd. I recognize them...it's our friends and neighbors Cory and Naji Hendrix. They are shoulder to shoulder with one arm around the waist of the other. Their free arms pump in pace with some unheard music. They have a synchronized cross step and are only aware of the other as they pass with faces radiating joy.
I pivot to my right to see where this procession leads. I am next to another concrete overpass where the stream of dancers disappears into its shadows. I now understand the purpose of the first scene. We were being called into some kind of spontaneous, urban street dance.
I have joined the procession and am in a large V-shaped alcove under the overpass. The daylight is muted where a group of 20 has assembled. The leader choreographs from the rear of the alcove as others fan out towards the road. At first I observe but am compelled to join when I notice my beloved Shirin. She flows with the others in a synchronized back and forth movement. She is a twenty-something version of herself with a dark top and flowing leggings. I feel courtship longings to be near her, but she is immersed in the dance, unaware of me. I move towards her, but the dance carries her away. I wake up.
After praying about the dream, I hoped for sleep. Sleep did not come so I did what I usually do. I popped in an ear bud and prayed through Scripture (love the Bible.is app for this). I prayed through Psalms 67 to 72. After this, I was 100% sure the dream was from God. After all this, I gave up on sleep. I got up to write down the dream before I forgot. Here is what the Spirit highlighted for me…
The picture of Cory and Naji was a picture of perfect marital harmony. This dream was for me, though I did have the opportunity to share it with them. I'm not clear about the part where the dance carries Shirin away. If nothing else, I need to continue to pursue my bride. After 27 years of marriage, I do feel like we are in an extended season of dancing well together.
Psalm 68 is a processional song. The people of God assemble and move through the city in a celebration toward the temple mount. There is a strong call to worship…
“May the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful. Sing to God, sing praise to his name, extol him who rides on the clouds.” (v. 3-4).
What really got me was this…
"Your procession, God, has come into view,
the procession of my God and King into the sanctuary.
In front are the singers, after them the musicians;
with them are the young women playing the timbrels.
Praise God in the great congregation;
praise the Lord in the assembly of Israel." (v. 24-26)
The dream was my own urban version of a call to join the joyful procession of those headed to the great worship party.
So this is my theme for 2017… Join the dance procession. Every day I will endeavor to wake, worship and dance.
We had guests to our home for dinner the day God gave me the dream. Katherine, one of our guests, asked me to share what I was excited about. I shared the theme of my dream and my sense of enthusiasm about God's call to dance. When I saw Katherine the next day, she told me that God gave her a dream where she saw me in a dance procession. She said there was something else I needed for the dance that neither she nor I were able to see.
So not only was this the first time God gave me a theme through a dream, but he confirmed it through a dream given to someone else. Whoa! this is getting weird…but exciting.