“Of Dreams and Visions” The Rev. Leonard Oakes- June 3, 2018

In the name of the God of our dreams, the Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Good morning, dreamers!

Have you had a dream last night? What about the night before? Last week? Years ago? (Kindly ask your neighbor his/her dream?)
I’m pretty sure each one of us had a dream when we were young. Yet even now, we continue to dream.

When I was just a young boy, (not that I’ve grown so old now,) I used to dream a lot, awake or asleep. (Not that kind of dream that makes you smile now,) but a dream of hope and aspirations that one day, I will be like that person that I admire a lot, or be in that place that I wish I could live, or one of the stars that shines. I remember helping my dad in the farm planting rice under the heat of the sun. Every time I think about that farm, I remember eating with my brothers near the creek and taking a nap under a nipa hut where the wind blows and the songs of the birds and the sound of the water flowing will put me to rest. As I watch the grain start to form, and when it’s time for the harvest, I would pluck some heads of grain and whistle as I go. And when the harvest is done, my brothers and I would carry those 50 pounds per sack of palay on our shoulders. Usually about 100 sacks of them. Sweat runs through my cheeks as I grab a bottle of water to quench me. I don’t remember if we did the harvest on a sabbath day. What I remember is, the proceeds will help my brothers and sister college tuition fees, and to those of us who are in elementary and high schools. We would give a sack of palay rice to the Church as offering, and the rest will be our daily bread where we all get together in a table to give thanks to God for the many blessings we continue to receive. A couple of months later, the cycle for farming begins anew. Another dream comes along.
When I graduated high school, I wanted to be a nurse or a public speaker. But because I wasn’t certain of what my heart really wants, I took some general English and science subjects with a plan to pursue nursing and public administration. But somehow, somewhere I heard a voice calling me to “Come forward and stretch out my hands” I wasn’t sure whose voice that was? I didn’t know what it meant? I met with my parish priest Fr. Dario Palasi at Holy Angels Anglican Church in Pico La Trinidad Benguet, Philippines (who is now a rector in Queens New York) and confided with him about my dreams. He told me to join the Church Choir and have a time to pray for wisdom. There was a Deacon Intern there by the name of Harold Agustin (Who is a bishop now), who encouraged me to take the entrance test to Saint Andrew’s Theological Seminary in Quezon City Philippines. I passed the test but I never told my parents about it, until the month of June came where they received a letter from the seminary informing them that I passed the test and that God has called me to the ordained ministry. I still didn’t understand how all these things happened so quickly. A sudden change of course. It turned my dreams downside up. I thought about my dream as boy, and as a college student. I finally said to the Lord, “Lord, here I am, take my stretched hands and lead me according to your will.” Here I am now with you, still listening to the voice of God.

The young Samuel in the Old Testament reading may not understand all those dreams and voices he experienced, but they certainly led him to become a trustworthy prophet of the Lord.
The man in the synagogue with a withered hand in the Gospel reading this morning, listened to the calling of our Lord Jesus Christ who said, “Come forward and stretch out your hand” and his hand was restored to normalcy.

Samuel’s dream may be something else, but God has better plans for him.
The Man with the withered hand may have lost his hope to be well, but he listened to the call of Jesus Christ to come forward and he was healed.
I may not have pursued my nursing and public administrator right away, but God called me to pursue His mission first and yet God still granted me to become a nurse and a public administrator at the same time. There is no better place to be but in the house of God full of gratitude and service to render.

To our graduates, graduating students; To all students and dreamers like us, I know you have aspirations in life, you long for a better life, possessions. We long for peace, love and the way of compassion. I ask you not to hesitate to stretch forth your hands and listen to the voice of God. Don’t hesitate to say to the Lord, “Here I am, send me according to your will.”

May your dreams come true, and may the God of our dreams, The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit be with you and guide you through. Amen.

Let me offer you this song to inspire you today and everyday.

Andy Williams:
To dream, the impossible dream, to fight the unbeatable foe,
to bear with unbearable sorrow, to run where the brave dare not go.
To right the unrightable wrong, and to love pure and chaste from afar
To try when your arms are too weary, to reach the unreachable star

REF: This is my quest to follow the star no matter how hopeless
No matter how far, to fight for the right without question or pause
To be willing to march, march into hell for that heavenly cause
And I know if I’ll only be true to this glorious quest
That my heart will lie peaceful and calm, when I’m laid to my rest

And the world will be better for this,
That one man scorned and covered with scars
Still strove with his last ounce of courage
To fight the unbeatable foe. To reach the unreachable star

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