Joel seems to encapsulate a theme I’m often found preaching: Be the ancandle-starsswer to your prayer. Its not enough to pray fervently unless we are prepared to be the means by which prayer is answered! The prophet seems to be saying the same things about prophecy – Don’t just listen and wait for fulfilment. Don’t just live in hope – bring about the promised future. he encourages folk to be dreamers and to dream things into being. Joel encourages us to see our longings fulfilled, reshaping reality around us until change happens.

So where are those visionaries today? Where are those who paint, not just an idealised version of the world around, but a living picture of potential reality? In a world that seems so fragmented, so reactionary, so disjointed, what will it take to bring people together? What will it take to see some kind of common purpose, something worth striving for together? Where are those dreamers in today’s world? Or is it the case that folk are just too disillusioned to imagine things being any different? Have we lost faith in possibility?

Joel seems to call us back to hope – the hope that the world and humanity can change, that relationships can be restored, that the Kingdom of God will break out. And we don’t have to wait until everyone has caught the vision or embraced the hope – it can begin with you or I. Those who imagine possibility can see its fulfilment. Communities can take small steps to bring about God’s preferred and promised future.

The Incarnation started with a woman and an angel…

So where are you thinking of taking this text this week?

  • Are you examining dreams and dreamers?
  • Are you re-imagining the community you serve?
  • Are you going with the theme of hope?
  • Are you finding the rich seam of connection to Advent and the Incarnation?

You will find the text here.

And the ever helpful Working Preacher NL Commentary is here.

Please share in the comments what direction you’ll be taking with the text this week and let’s continue to inspire each other as we imagine and live into God’s preferred and promised future today.



5 thoughts on “Narrative Lectionary: Catching the hopeful vision (Joel 2:12 – 13, 28-29)

  1. I love this idea — of being called back to big visions and dreams. It’s easy to lose that in the daily slog of meetings and hungry people and preparing bulletins…what a fruitful reminder! Thanks!


  2. This will be the second to last sermon that I preach at my current call. We have done a lot of visioning and work in the four years that I have been here but I know that there some in the congregation that are nervous and anxious. They want the turn inward, they want to undo a lot of the outreach and growth that has happened.

    They are already attempting through back channels to stop a sanctuary revitalization project that has been going on for over a year. They want to put everything on hold because “we don’t have a pastor”.

    There are some that have been lifted by the work and have taken on the vision.

    As I read this passage and your commentary I was thinking about “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” the famous quote from Gandhi.

    I wonder if there is a way to invite people to share their dream or vision for the church and also how they intend to make that dream a reality.

    If I think of something I’ll let you know.


    Liked by 2 people

    1. I put a slip in the bulletin with a space for their name. A space for their dream for the church. A place for them to answer, how can you can you make this dream a reality? I’m inviting them to put it in the offering plate then getting the session to contact them.


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