Last night, I had a dream where I walked the streets of modern-day Palestine with Jesus–near the wall in Bethlehem. I've been a Christian most of my life, but I've never dreamed of Jesus before.
It was an extraordinarily vivid dream. I could see the details of his face and our surroundings, and our conversation seemed lucid and clear–not the kind of surreal exchanges common to our sleep.
As we walked, I asked Jesus a question: "Teacher, what do you believe about Black Lives Matter?"
Jesus told me the parable of the Farmer from Matthew 13.
"A farmer went out to scatter seed in a field. While the farmer was scattering the seed, some of it fell along the road and was eaten by birds. Other seeds fell on thin, rocky ground and quickly started growing because the soil wasn’t very deep. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched and dried up, because they did not have enough roots. Some other seeds fell where thornbushes grew up and choked the plants. But a few seeds did fall on good ground where the plants produced a hundred or sixty or thirty times as much as was scattered. If you have ears, pay attention!"
So I said, "I think I understand. Some people can't see the injustice faced by black people, others see, but can't process and accept the role their privilege plays in the oppression of black people, but a few see and understand and work to end it."
Jesus didn't say anything. So I said, "What can I say to hearts like the road or the shallow soil?"
Jesus said, "Tell them the Kingdom of Heaven is like yeast a woman mixes into three batches of dough. Finally, this yeast will make all the dough rise."
I thought and then responded, "Teacher, what can I say to those who struggle for the cause of racial justice?"
Jesus said, "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches."
There were a lot of other things in that dream. When I woke up and started to write it all down, I realized that Jesus spoke to me in passages from the Gospels–parts of Matthew 13.
I don't claim to speak for Jesus, or that my dream was some kind of prophesy. But, I do think we can read the Bible with an eye toward justice, and that the people who are walking on our city streets, working to show America what it's like for people of color in our nation.
Some of us can't see it. Others can, but won't accept. A few see and join the work.
For those who can't see, or see but can't accept, remember that the first-century movement we call Christianity was a subversive movement of marginalized people who lived under the rule of an empire–that the kingdom of heaven was yeast in dough that hadn't risen.
And for the people walking city streets, remember the mustard seed. One day, people will rest in the branches of the seed you plant today.
May all the people of God join the work of creating peace in our land.