Long ago in his own church bulletin my grandfather wrote of a man who had a frightening dream. I recently came across this story and imagined how he might have told it. How I loved when Grandpa would tell a story! He recounted how a man dreamed that God used his passion, his service, and his giving as a standard for the whole church. Everyone loved, served, and gave the way he did.

    In his dream the man entered the church on Sunday morning, and he was treated the way he treated others. The church’s ministry was engaged by people with his same desire to serve the Lord. Everyone cared and gave just as much as he did.

    At church, the people who did shake his hand, greeted him with half-hearted smiles, though no one seemed to genuinely care. He felt cold and lonely, and wondered why he had come, and then the Spirit spoke to him: They love as you have loved.

    As he sat through the service he was annoyed by the poor music and the lackluster sermon. It seemed like no one had planned anything or prepared at all. Moreover the deacons, the musicians, and even the pastor seemed preoccupied and distracted with little attention to what they were doing, and the Spoke again: They serve as you have served.

    Finally, at the close of the service, the pastor said with a laugh, “Don’t bother coming back tonight, or Wednesday, or next Sunday (Many didn’t understand what he meant by “tonight or Wednesday.”), because the offering has been empty lately, so now we’ll be closing the doors for good.” Surprisingly the crowd and the pastor seemed fairly pleased with this, and the Spirit whispered: They care and give as much as you have cared and given.

    In minutes the church was empty, never to meet again. The man just sat in his pew in silence. With his head bowed a tear fell to the floor. Then he spoke to God- for the first time in a long time, he really prayed! He realized that he had believed in the myth of Someone Else. He repented for thinking that Someone Else would see to this or take care of that. But Someone Else didn’t love as he- the man- should have. Someone Else didn’t serve as he- the Christian- should have. Someone Else didn’t care and give as he- the dreamer- should have. But God didn’t call Someone Else, God had called him!

    Then the Spirit said: Wake up, O Sleeper!