United Presbyterian Church of West Orange

“Dreams and Visions”

Rev. Rebecca Migliore
May 21, 2018



       Joel the prophet said, ‘In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.


Pentecost.  So much of the time we spend focusing on the different languages, the fire, the wind, the breath, the STUFF that happened so many years ago to THOSE people.  It wouldn’t happen to us today!  But why not?  Why can’t we be the people gathered together, faithfully waiting for God to fill us up and send us forth?

The Revitalization Project we are a part of—(remember those 7 “marks” of vital churches?) is one way to have us create space and time to “let the Spirit in.”  And so, I’ve decided that today we are going to do just that.

A reminder of what we as Presbyterians believe about the Spirit.  Of course, we believe that the Spirit can whoosh into gathered communities (like it did on that first day of Pentecost)—and create unexpected chaos, of many languages spoken, of excitement to the extreme, of losing control (so much so that you have to explain to the authorities that you weren’t taking anything—legal or illegal!)


Yes, the Spirit works like that we remind ourselves every Pentecost, and then promptly think—well nothing like that has ever happened in our worship service, so now we can forget about the Spirit and go back to being comfortable.  Not so fast.    Presbyterians believe that the Spirit is also at work in us, especially when we are working together—outreaching to the community, praying for one another, gathering to listen for what God’s word has to say to us today, and … dreaming together.

I know that dreams are part of that “other world”—the one that we visit mostly when we are asleep, when we aren’t quite in control of what is happening, that we don’t always understand.  And when we want to dismiss something, it is often said, “Oh, you are just dreaming!”  But the prophet Joel, and our own Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. knew the power and the importance of dreams.

So, I invite us, in this Pentecost moment, to slip into a different way of thinking.  To let go of the control we usually have in worship, and to trust in the Spirit’s work in us.  We may not arrive at our final goal—but let us take a step toward voicing what we dream individually, and what we might dream about our church.





The Spirit asks us today to fill in the blank …


“Our church will forever be marked in history as the church that—(space for your dreams and visions)








(to help in answering this “question” you can explore)


The purpose of our church is …



We believe God has called us together to …



We are unwilling to waiver on …



We follow as disciples of Jesus Christ by …



We are known as the church that …