Thursday, November 18, 2010


Fr. Dale Matson
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matt. 5:27-28).
“Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.” (Opening sentences of Confession of Sin in Rite II BCP, P. 360).
Just in case you thought we are only judged by our works, it is obvious that our thoughts are the next level that God examines. Our actions, failures to act and our thoughts essentially stem from our conscious thought life.
Thinking about doing something that one should not do, may or may not be a prelude to actually doing it but what is considered a harmless fantasy can be rehearsal for acting on that same fantasy. If not carried out in real life, wishes may find their way into the latent (hidden) content of a dream and be acted out in disguised form in the dream. In some dreams the manifest and latent content are the same and there is no symbolism. Here we do not need a Jungian analyst or a Daniel to interpret our dream. As a former smoker, I am always happy to awaken and find that the disappointment and defeat I experienced smoking in a dream is relieved by waking. In that case I believe it is God preemptively waiving me off the runway of temptation.
Dreams are a way that God speaks to His people and as Morton Kelsey stated in God, Dreams and Revelation: A Christian Interpretation of Dreams (1991), ” Neglecting the dream can separate us from one of the most significant ways that God reaches out to human beings.”
The Psalmist understood that his dreams revealed an inner man. "Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts; and see if there be any wicked way in me," (Psalm 139:23-24) and "Behold, Thou desires truth in the inward parts; and in the hidden part Thou shalt make me know wisdom." (Psalm 51:6).
Recently I believe that God revealed to me the utter depth and depravity of my sinful nature in a dream. Without revealing the actual content, I must say that there was not a waking life to connect to the dream content and no frustrated waking impulse to fulfill in that dream. When the manifest and latent content are identical there can be no denial of the actions in the dream. It was a dream that had me saying to myself when I awakened, “Thank God this was a dream. This cannot be me!” I believe it was God showing me who I am without Christ. There is no room for self-righteousness after a dream like this. It was sobering indeed and as a priest so humbling. Two verses from scripture immediately come to mind as I reflect on this. “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh;” (Romans 7:18a). But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness’s are as filthy rags.” (Isaiah 64:6a).
However, with and in Christ I recall the following verses. “God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.” (1 Cor. 1:28-30).
I believe God uses dreams to show us many things including the person we are without Christ. It is an inescapable truth and there is no denying this. It is our unconverted self, our old Adam at the deepest level and he is a ruthless cold blooded self, deserving of Hell. “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:1). Amen.

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