Dream On

Matthew 2:1-12 – Epiphany* of the Lord – for Friday*, January 6

“Because they were warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they went back to their own country by another route . . .” (Matthew 2:12)

Once, Joseph dreamed angelic dreams, nudged by the Holy.

Mary, however, received a formal visit from Gabriel to discuss a divine future.

Those wandering, follow-the-star wise guys fitfully dreamed of Herod’s schemes.

The shepherds experienced a starlight symphony, hillside seats for an angelic orchestra.

Dreams distinguished Matthew and Luke’s unique accounts of the nativity. Matthew waited for the participants to settle into sleep. Everybody seemed to have eyes wide open in Luke. Indeed, in Luke, there were no dreams. But Matthew, from start to finish, from the first anxious thoughts of Jesus’ impending birth to the holy family’s return from Egypt, sleeper’s sleep and dreamer’s dream.

I have no idea if my dreaming is “average.” My odd, early morning habits—I rise around 4am to begin writing—may thwart potential dreams. And yet I recall some dreams, especially ones that recurred with startling similarities. For years—decades!—I dreamed about a glitch with college graduation. Did I finish my degree? I’d awake unsettled, as if living a lie. When younger, I regularly dreamed of flying. Airborne dreams, I’ve read, are common. Common or not, I enjoyed mine. Unlike waking with the dread of deceit, my winged memories provided uplifting feelings.

Dreams can be sexual, symbolic, graphic, and ephemeral. We fall and never hit the ground. We walk through rooms that later, awake and with eyes as wide open as Luke’s Mary, make us feel like we’ve been in that place before. Continue reading →

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We Hear What We Want To Hear

Luke 4:14-21 – The 3rd Sunday after Epiphany – for Sunday, January 24, 2016

He began to explain to them, ‘Today, this scripture has been fulfilled just as you heard it.’” (Luke 4:21)

Female-doctor-listening-t-006Leaning forward, I listened intently.

Chatter and ringing phones from nearby sections of the busy second floor—the reception desk, waiting room, and adjoining exam areas—faded into background noise.

At a teaching hospital, my wife and I focused on the surgeon’s explanation. As still as soldiers standing at attention, several student interns and the supervising professor (a renowned medical expert) also crowded the exam room.

Only our doctor spoke. Only her words mattered.

While not an emergency, this was serious. We had time to ponder, but a decision needed to happen within a few months. That decision would trigger a cascade of activities including crucial CT scans to discern the extent of the damage. The surgeon elaborated on the key steps necessary before and after the operation. Wanting to be 100% sure about everything, I asked her to repeat several statements

So focused on her crucial information, I didn’t even hear any barking in the background.

Our doctor was a vet. Continue reading →

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Foggy Thoughts on the Wise Guys

Matthew 2:1-12 – Epiphany of the Lord – for Sunday, January 3, 2016

“Because they were warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they went back to their own country by another route.” (Matthew 2:12)

On some foggy days, it's hard to tell the difference between morning or afternoon . . .
On some foggy days, it’s hard to tell the difference between morning or afternoon . . .

It’s the foggy season here in California’s Central Valley.

Storms lumber across the Pacific, nod at Hawaii, slink into San Francisco and then pour into the 400-mile long Central Valley soup bowl between the Coast Range and the Sierra Nevada. Some of our wintry weather departs Alaska, heading south with a cold, snippy attitude. On good years, rain moistens the flatlands while snow piles in the mountains.

The rain bringing fog to this immense valley is like Bella of the Twilight novels getting a paper cut and all of the local vampires appear. It’s like buying a pickup truck and suddenly lots of “best friends” want your help to move something. One thing leads to another.

In the Central Valley, there are “fog days” for schools that mean delayed starts. Air traffic clogs because planes can’t land or take-off. The roads, since you can’t see ‘em, become dangerous. Continue reading →

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