Sweet dreams are the holy whispers
slipping into our slumber and inviting,
“Ask what I should give you.”
(1 Kings 3:5)

.
Sweet dreams are the abundant promises
that only God can deliver: “What you have asked
and more — riches and honor all your life!”
(1 Kings 3:13)

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Sweet dreams are the dawnings of understanding,
the delicious welcoming of the favored few
into the secrets of God.
(Psalm 111:6 & 10)

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Sweet dreams are the coveting
of Wisdom’s bread and honey,
the desire to be her or to be near her.
(Proverbs 9:5-6 and Psalm 34:12)

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Sweet dreams are the makings of ambition:
to be perfect in life and before God,
spiritually assured and admired.
(Ephesians 5:15-20)

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Sweet dreams float like crumbs on the wind,
like an eschatological meal, like
a memory without taste.
(John 6:51-58)

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Perhaps it is the news of these days, the tangibility of blood and teargas and terror, that has me longing for scripture readings that have a little flesh on them, a little something more satisfying than sweet dreams and wishful thinking and spiritual aspirations. My soul needs bread from heaven that comes with a slather of butter & honey or a nice wedge of cheese. My heart is looking for a fear of the LORD that shows up as fair & just policing, as white churches learning songs of lament, as wisdom flowing from politicians’ mouths.

So I sigh a little bit over these lectionary texts for Sunday that seem to drift and dream and idealize.

Then again … maybe dreaming and idealizing is precisely the task at hand. Perhaps sweet dreams are needed to give us a vision for the tangible work. Perhaps God’s dreams are not a faint memory but are in fact the very struggles showing up in the daily headlines.

Sweet dreams — O Merciful and Imaginative God, may we be full of sweet dreams that wake us up to the ongoing work.

Preaching this Sunday? Pondering the lectionary? Share your wonderings, writings, rough drafts, and sermonizing ideas in the comments.

9 thoughts on “Revised Common Lectionary: Sweet Dreams Are Made Of This

  1. It’s a festival Sunday here so we are off lectionaries. And perhaps after reading your post I’m thankful. My prayers are with you all.

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  2. I just love what you have done with these texts. I might just use the Rachel Hackenberg revised version for the readings on Sunday. xoxo

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    1. Years ago I wrote a Revised Rachel Version (RRV) of the Gospel of Mark. I keep meaning to go back to it and to expand on my translated texts. 😀

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  3. This Sunday is a rare (for me) departure from the RCL. I just couldn’t do it. So I’m picking up Mark 2:1-12, a text we exegeted over and over and over again in seminary. Fifteen years later, I’ve recovered and am willing to preach it. I am feeling a bit helpless without my usual lectionary-based resources, though. I’m sure it’s good for me.

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    1. That’s one of my favorite stories. I just preached it a few weeks ago as part of my summer series, and I have looked for other excuses to preach it over the years. It has actually come up in the lectionary once in all my lectionary years, the 7th Sunday after Epiphany, for Pete’s sake. Have fun with it!

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  4. this is my second last Sunday with the current congregation, off lectionary, using a resource from ‘Dandelions and Thistles’ : Follow me – there are 5 readings from Mark’s gospel and 5 short reflections. Wednesday evening here and I have the liturgy finished – which concerns me, as I am usually finishing the liturgy on Saturday morning. I have 4 meetings tomorrow and two on Friday, so it is helpful being ahead this week.

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