[I believe YHWH* gave me the following message for the benefit of the congregation with which my wife and I worship and fellowship. Those in authority were spending over 17 million dollars to remodel the buildings to install a new organ and enhance the sound of the organ and choir in the main sanctuary. I delivered the message January 10, 2005.
Because I wanted to know if the dream described at the beginning of the message was from YHWH, I asked him to disclose something in it that I had not been told. He revealed that the PLC (the gym-theater in which contemporary worship services are held) was half-lit and what lay outside the door was gray and lifeless. When I asked the person who told me the dream if she remembered anything about the lighting and what was outside the door toward which she was walking, she added those details, confirming to me that the dream was from YHWH. Each portion of the message is preceded by the date when I received it.
The message is in the form in which I delivered it except that I have replaced the name of the organization's primary official with "the rector", the title in the Episcopal Church for the person that some church organizations refer to as the head pastor or minister. As predicted at the end of it, the message was rejected.]
On October 27, 2004, I was informed by someone who is not a member at St. John the Divine about the following dream she had the night before. She added a couple details a day or two later.
She was walking through the PLC of St. John the Divine with an older woman. No chairs were set up, but in the southwest corner, by the “I Am” banner, there were two tables, one set up for communion, the other empty. The rector was at the first, preparing communion wafers and wine, oblivious to the fact that no one was there for a service. The room was only half-lit. She recalls that she was moving from south to north toward the single door at the northeast corner, but instead of opening onto the hall and atrium, the door led outdoors. The PLC was standing on its own without the rest of the building. Outside the door, the scene was gray and lifeless.
[She believes the dream portends what is coming upon St. John the Divine. Following is what I recorded as it came to me. For any who want it, the interpretation follows the message.]
As I meditated on the dream and its significance, I received the following understanding: The dream reveals a preoccupation with things of the world, ignoring the people and their spiritual condition. Those in authority have made the new organ an idol. Just as the floor of the main building has been torn up, so has the foundation upholding the congregation.
Then I received this thought: “Evil comes in many forms. Not all are easy to recognize. Those that are pleasing to the eye or sweet to taste often bear the worst consequences. So it is with man’s glory. All too quickly it passes, but what destruction it leaves in its wake.”
[As I’ve meditated on the different parts of the dream over the days since then, the following thoughts, which I believe are words from YHWH, have come to me:]
“The building is nothing to me. What matters are the people. The organ is nothing to me. What matters are the people. Are they devoted to me? Have they consecrated their lives to me?
“You may say they have because they performed a ritual. The ritual is nothing to me. You may say they have because they pay me lip service. Their lip service is nothing to me. You may say they have because they attend your worship services. Your worship services are nothing to me without people whose lives are consecrated to me. Without the consecration, your worship services are empty to me, as if no one attended them.
“And you do not see. As one whose eyes see light but not shapes, you believe a lie. You are as isolated from me as if you were in a wasteland.
“What more can I do to make you see? My Spirit is among you, but you do not glorify me. If I perform signs and wonders among you, you marvel, you rejoice. Then you turn your back to me and continue your worldly ways.
“Am I a God far off or a God who is near? Have I stretched out my hand to redeem you that you treat me so? Are you one body or thousands? Do not the ants exhibit more devotion to their queen than you to me?
“How many times must I rebuke you before you hear and heed my word? Set aside now all that this world holds dear. Humble yourselves before me and seek my will. Hear my words with your heart, your spirit, your innermost being, not with your ears only, nor even with your mind. I am. Believe it.”
“Your congregation is as divided as if it were never one. You chase in all directions, finding little or nothing, wasting your energies in efforts I did not decree. Stop and taste the sweetness of my Spirit, the life lived in me through Jesus. Though you have not known me, I called you. Though you were not my children, I received you. Now, be my people, and I will be your God. Love me with a whole heart, and let me lead you.
“You have no need of priests, for I have made all my people priests, a royal priesthood ordained to serve me wherever you are, wherever you go.”
“Stop neglecting my people, their hunger for me, their need for new life in me. Attend the lost and dying, those who measure the quality of their lives by their possessions, their pleasures, their prestige, their power. Their measure is sand in the wind, a puddle in the sun. Give them truth. Fear not to rebuke what does not please me. Do not value the man of wealth, influence or power above him who is nobody in the world’s eyes. My power is made perfect in man’s weakness.”
“You practice your liturgies and rituals as if they will satisfy the people’s needs. You neglect my word and the people’s need to grow in me and in service to me. You neglect their needs for true worth and significance, which can be found only in living for me and in me. Do you wonder why so many leave your services to flock to worldly pursuits instead of bonding in close fellowship with one another? Do you wonder why they seek pleasure and satisfaction in the things of the world rather than in being with one another in my presence? With so little of me presented to them, how will they look forward to being in my presence eternally?”
“What I desire is humility, true humility. What I desire is devotion, true devotion. What I desire is service, true service. What I desire is love, true love; not as the world loves— with conditions and emotions— but unconditional, giving love. It is not enough to know my word. You must practice it. It is not enough to seek my word. You must obey it. It is not enough to seek my Spirit. You must follow where I lead.
“Set aside all worldly ambitions and desires. Become one with each other. Become of one mind by immersing yourselves totally in me, all that I am.”
“I will conclude, but you will not hear. You will not hear unless you truly and honestly seek my will. You cannot do that unless your hearts and souls and minds are given to me. How often you have prayed, asking me to bless the plans and schemes of your own desires. How often you have portrayed as my will those things that serve your own glory, your own need for standing in the world’s eyes.
“Again I tell you that you will not hear without ears tuned to me, hearts given to me, lives consecrated to me. If you value my word, meditate long and hard upon this word, and do not miss what I am doing among you and what I will do among you. If you value me, let your words and deeds show it. Even more, let me see it in your innermost being. Be mine in all your ways.”
This is the interpretation of the dream:
"PLC" stands for "Parish Life Center". The "PLC" is a combination gymnasium and theater contained in a larger structure. Its northern entrance is at the end of an atrium that runs east and west. It is used for the congregation's contemporary services. The PLC is decorated with various banners that declare YHWH's lordship and blessings, including a banner that prominantly displays the words "I Am". In this congregation, worship centers primarily around the liturgy of "holy communion". In others, it centers around water baptism and other religious rituals or, even worse, around the preacher. As in most congregations, its life centers around its worship services.
The almost empty room reveals the emptiness of congregations that value their buildings above YHWH's will and Jesus' life. The empty table represents the needs neglected by the clergy in their preoccupation with worship at the expense of what YHWH wants from his people. That the celebrant is preparing the communion table beneath the "I Am" banner reveals the irony of the glorious message proclaimed by that banner, indeed by all the banners, and the irrelevance and insignificance of what the rector is doing in a virtually empty building. Although "life" is in its name, the room is half-lit to show that the light of the congregation's life is barely lit: Far too many of its members are not living in and showing forth Jesus. I had not understood the older woman walking with the younger toward the door opening outside. I prayed several times for understanding, thinking her identity important, since I knew the identity of the younger woman. Then on January 19, 2007, after studying Malachi, my eyes were opened and I understood: Whereas the liturgy ministers to an empty form of "Christinity", the real ministry to YHWH is in the wasteland where the people are. The older woman represents the mature Christian, going there to serve YHWH, taking the immature Christian along to learn and grow into that service.
*YHWH or YHVH is the English representation of the four Hebrew letters that spell the name of the God of the Bible, the one true, living God worshipped by Jews and Christians. YHWH was the name by which he identified himself to Moses in Ex. 3:14. According to references that I've read, the exact pronunciation of YHWH's name was lost in antiquity. After much study, I prefer to pronounce the name "Yahu-wah" (the "h" being aspirated as in "hay", emphasis on the last syllable), but the generally accepted pronounciation in common English is "Yah-weh" or "Yah-way". Some translations of the Bible, such as the KJV and NASB, substitute "the LORD" for his name, following a practice begun before Jesus' birth.
YHWH revealed himself in various ways to the children of Israel in the Hebrew Bible, which Christians call the Old Testament. He also revealed himself in and through his son Jesus Christ and acts, among other ways, in and through Christians by the Holy Spirit. Because the word "God" is being used today to designate all kinds of human inventions, although accepted for centuries in English as a name for YHWH, I prefer to use the name that YHWH chose for himself rather than "God" or "the LORD" as I did in early versions of my writings. Please read The Name of the One True, Living God for a fuller discussion.
|Remember who He is and whose you are|