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Walter Brueggemann (b. 1933)

Dreams and Nightmares
On reading 1 Kings 3:5-9; 9:2-9

Last night as I lay sleeping,
   I had a dream so fair . . .
   I dreamed of the Holy City, well ordered and just.
   I dreamed of a garden of paradise,
     well-being all around and a good water supply.
   I dreamed of disarmament and forgiveness,
     and caring embrace for all those in need.
   I dreamed of a coming time when death is no more.

Last night as I lay sleeping . . .
   I had a nightmare of sins unforgiven.
   I had a nightmare of land mines still exploding
     and maimed children.
   I had a nightmare of the poor left unloved,
     of the homeless left unnoticed,
     of the dead left ungrieved.
   I had a nightmare of quarrels and rages
     and wars great and small.

When I awoke, I found you still to be God,
   presiding over the day and night
     with serene sovereignty,
   for dark and light are both alike to you.

At the break of day we submit to you
     our best dreams
     and our worst nightmares,
   asking that your healing mercy should override threats,
     that your goodness will make our
       nightmares less toxic
       and our dreams more real.

Thank you for visiting us with newness
       that overrides what is old and deathly among us.
Come among us this day; dream us toward
       health and peace,
we pray in the real name of Jesus
       who exposes our fantasies.

For over thirty years now, Walter Brueggemann (b. 1933) has combined the best of critical scholarship with love for the local church in service to the kingdom of God. Now a professor emeritus of Old Testament studies at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia, Brueggemann has authored over seventy books. Taken from his Prayers for a Privileged People (Nashville: Abingdon, 2008), pp. 79-80.

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