One of my daughter's current favorite songs is "A Million Dreams" (listen here) from a recent movie/musical, The Greatest Showman, which is a film based on the story of P. T. Barnum's creation of the Barnum & Bailey Circus. This song contains two sets of lyrics that nealrybring me to tears with the optimism of the hope we can have for the future.
Every night I lie in bed,
the brightest colors fill my head
A million dreams are keeping me awake
I think of what the world could be,
a vision of the one I see
A million dreams is all it's gonna take
A million dreams for the world we're gonna make
While this song is speaking of the imaginative world of a showman and the worlds that he will create under the lights and the canvas of a circus tent, my mind goes beyond the mere physical to the vision of the world that we are given through the incarnation, a vision of the One I see when I look at Jesus Christ. Through Jesus and His interaction with peoplewe see a vision of the Kingdom of God on earth, a world in which love, compassion, kindness, and forgiveness are our raison d'etre.
While through One man, Jesus Christ, a movement was started that we know of as the church, we can look at the chaos, pain, violence, and hatred around us and we can become disheartened that, with Jesus having ascended into heaven, we have no hope to see this chaos resolved. The thing is, we don't have to resolve this chaos on our own. Rather, we simply seek to bring love and compassion into the hatred and chaos we see immediately around us--the chaos in our own lives, the hatred and violence and injustice we see in our own communities, the hurt and pain in the eyes one person or the forgiveness given to one soul that has wronged us. As an individual, I can't change the whole world, but I can be used of God to help change one life and to have a positive impact on the lives He allows to walk alongside me. If we all do this, seeking to change one life at a time, then before we know it we have a million lives with a million dreams of how the light of Christ can shine into the darkest corners of the world so that His love can resolve the hatred, His peace can bring an end to the violence, and His forgiveness can stop the vengeance.
The song also speaks of the opposition we may face when we seek to dream big:
They can say, they can say it all sounds crazy
They can say, they can say I've lost my mind
I don't care, I don't care, so call me crazy
We can live in a world that we design
We may be thought of as crazy by the world if we have such an audacious dream as to change the hatred in the world through love or the generational cycle of vengeance with forgiveness, but this is what Christ modeled to us. Through the hope of the resurrection, though, we can look at a world that calls us crazy and we can hold onto hope and faith, for the one who conquered death is the one who leads our way into a world of His design, and a Kingdom built on His own image and His own example of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, and goodness.
(as published in St. Luke's’ weekly email newsletter, 2/27/19)