I try not to put much stock in dreams, what with the warnings about lying prophets substituting their dreams for God's word in Jeremiah 23:25-28, but last night I dreamed about Christ's return. (Maybe it's my way of dealing with millennium angst.) The dream had the usual Lewis Carroll-like incongruous elements in it: a stop at a roadside stand for sweet corn; a yellow school bus departing from the Glenside post office and commandeered by a woman I remotely know; a cameo appearance by an old boyfriend.
But the Second Coming was there, all right, suffusing everything, electrifying the air. In the sleepless aftermath I scribbled a note on the pad under my bed: "This is normal."
Of course, day consciousness is notoriously skeptical of night consciousness. What is "normal" anyway? Is it my usual even-keeled, complacent self? Or is it the heightened sense of urgency and instantaneous realignment of priorities of that midnight state that doctors say lasts four or five minutes, tops?
And the rarefied mental state immediately following-when I found myself interceding for my kids' salvation like I meant business; when things that were big that day (what so-and-so said about me) looked suddenly small, and things that were small (the way I talked to my husband) looked suddenly big?
We will all be together-pre-, post-, and amillennialists-on that day, I mused (in a reverie already diminishing like the glory glow behind Moses' veil). And differences of eschatalogical emphasis that had hardened into denominational warfare will fall away like cobwebs before a bulldozer. Revelation will mean, quintessentially, "God wins!" Church unity, for ages elusive, will be de facto. And some of us, for a blinking moment of regret, will wish we had meditated more on the one verse, "... speaking the truth in love."
WORLD and Newsweek will have the same cover story. Of course, no one will man the presses that day, the graphics people won't retrieve their faxes from the assistant editor, and no foreign correspondent will file his byline from downtown Djibouti; we will all read the story in the sky, from east to west (Matthew 24:27).
It will be a scene not to be missed. George Lucas will repent of his shabby special effects when he sees the planetarium show to beat all planetarium shows. We will gasp a collective "Aha!" in recognition of the true identities of the Beast and Dragon. And a word to the wise a la 2 Peter: "If your new Volvo is destined to melt down into a puddle of molten metal, what manner of people ought you to be as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming?"
But you know how it is with dreams. Even the most intense of them fade as fast as the stick-on phosphorescent stars on my kids' bedroom ceiling. And dreams are just dreams after all: part what you overheard on the evening news, partly the buffalo wings you ate for supper, partly the undigested ruminations of decades ping-ponging around in your head.
Still, I have noted some among us who seem to walk about in broad daylight in that "other" consciousness-who venture outside their comfort zones, who keep a loose grip on material possessions, who have flexible "to-do" lists when a neighbor is in need. So I asked one of them how she does it, and she told me: "You have to preach the gospel to yourself every day. You have to remind yourself of what you've been saved from. And by Whom."
I know a pastor who likes to say, "Jesus is coming back today," because, as he explains, whichever day He returns, it will be "today."
Unimpeachable logic. The real will be here before you know it. The dreams are the signposts. Bring on the City! "Amen. Come, Lord Jesus."