On Sunday evening, I attended a Zoom event at which we were invited to reflect on hopes and dreams. We shared our hopes for our nation—for a peaceful transfer of power, for leaders working together to get vaccines out, for a less anxiety-provoking news cycle.
“What about dreams?” My colleague, Rev. Dr. Karen Nell Smith, shifted the conversation. I spoke up. “I dream of being able to invite friends over for dinner.” Others chimed in with similar dreams: hugging a friend, singing, seeing other people’s faces.
Karen Nell noted that, while our hopes were for our nation, the dreams we expressed were much more personal. Her comment stuck with me. Even as I hope and pray fervently for our nation, I realized how hard it is right now for me to dream of a nation transformed. Maybe I am too discouraged by the intensity of hate and the dysfunction of government. Maybe I’m too focused on the dangers of this week to think beyond it. Maybe I’m worn out. Whatever the reason, I was surprised by the smallness of my own dreams; I love to dream big.
On Monday morning, I zoomed in to Greater Framingham Community Church’s annual Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration. The keynote speaker, Rev. Timothy Martin, performed Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s famous 1963 speech, in character. It was powerful to hear the entire speech. The “I have a dream” section rang in my eyes. It brought me back to my wonderings from the night before. In the face of so many reasons to be discouraged, so much danger and surely exhaustion, Rev. Dr. King continued to dream. How did he do that? How do we do that?
We tend to think of dreams as personal; maybe it helps to envision them as communal. Each of us, surely, has moments when we are too discouraged or frightened or worn out to dream. In those moments, we need someone to hold the dream for us, until we are restored and regain our vision. That’s what community means. That’s what Open Spirit seeks to be.
This week we have an opportunity to broaden the community that can empower us to dream. Open Spirit has joined with 84 other community organizations to endorse The People’s Inauguration, which will kick off Thursday, January 21st at 12 noon. The day before, Wednesday, we will have witnessed our new President and Vice-President take their oath of office. It will be a historic moment. And it will not be enough to transform our nation. Transforming our nation is the work of the people, communities of people holding the dream for one another, holding each other up and holding ourselves accountable.
On Thursday it will be our turn to make our promises. The People’s Inauguration has created a people’s oath, modeled after the ones our leader will take:
“I, (insert name), do solemnly vow that I will faithfully execute my role in healing, reimagining, and rebuilding our country, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend dignity, justice, and joy for myself and for all around me,
and that I will do so with love.”
You can join in at noon on Thursday at https://thepeoplesinauguration.org for a livestream event, followed by inspiring programming the rest of the day. Then, join in “Ten Days to Activate Revolutionary Love,” a series of conversations, music and more inspiration from January 22 to January 31th. To sign up for the Ten Days, go here.
I will be there on Thursday at noon, daring to trust that together we can dream big, support one another, and transform our nation. Will you join me?