23 July 2000

Holding each other's dreams (excerpt from lay-led service)

Independent Christian Church, Gloucester, 7/23/2000
(excerpt: Jeffry to Carl)

I have two dreams that I ask you to hold in your heart for me.

First, I would like to see the music I record and compose be known around the world. While my ego may still be wrapped up in receiving recognition, realizing this dream also feels like a moral obligation. I believe, first, that opening ourselves to profound works of art is essential to the maturing of the soul, and, second, that I have an important contribution to make in that maturing process for people everywhere. Apart from the small percentage of people who currently attend concerts and buy classical recordings, there are many others who can become equally, if not more, discerning listeners if given the opportunity. The more of them who are in turn inspired to pursue for themselves some form of artistic expression, the more happy and fulfilled people will be seen walking around. I would like to know that I had a role in this self-actualization process for thousands of people.

My second dream might have been to find life partnership with a woman. Even though many of you have heard me preach from this very pulpit my own ponderings as to whether it even makes sense to pair up with anyone but God, certain of you knew better than I did what I truly wanted, and held in your hearts the dream that the right person would find her way to me. Of course, there are always people who wish you would find someone so they can feel more comfortable about your life and have something familiar to relate to — which I would call projection, rather than holding someone’s dream. But I could feel from Barbara, for example — when she would occasionally ask me after a service, “Meet anyone lately?” — the true depth of her caring.

Nearly two months ago, I met the very woman who must have, up to that point, been settling for temporary lodging in hearts of those such as Barbara. Her dwelling no longer need be dispersed amongst so many places, however,  because she has finally found her rightful home in my own heart — where she breathes new life every time I see or speak with her. All that now remains in realizing this dream is that our love remain this alive, this vital and this inspiring for the rest of our days. This may seem easy when you’ve recently fallen in love. But I have attempted to commit my life to someone before, and am familiar with the complacence, the presumptions, and the withdrawing that comes between partners when they lose the will to fully face each other or to face themselves. And so I ask God’s help to forever cherish what I have been this blessed to receive, and ask that you, Carl, hold in your heart my intention that the flames which now dance between her eyes and mine have an endless supply of fuel. Help me also to not lose track of myself within this new-found family that includes her two boys. Help me see how my two dreams may actually nurture, rather than be at odds with, each other. Help me see to it that there will  always be a secure place for her dreams in my heart. And help me fully appreciate the power that results in my dreams being so tenderly held in hers.

Please join us now in the spirit of prayer...

Dear God,

Today as I sit in the Independent Christian Church, in Gloucester, MA, the United States of America, I give thanks for the work of your humble servant John Murray -- who more than two hundred years ago founded this, the first Universalist Church in the nation. Those of us here today continue to be grateful for the courage You brought him to take a stand in the face of persecution -- and at a time when leaders of existing denominations had become lost, confused and tyrannical -- to show the people once again that you are a loving God.

Sitting here, I notice who sits to my right, to my left, behind or ahead of me. It may be someone I know well or it may be someone I have never before seen. No matter what this person has endured in life, she has a dream. No matter what this person appears on the exterior, he has great strength of spirit. I know that You desire every possible fulfillment for this person in her time on earth, but I know that you need my help in carrying out this mission on his behalf. Let me set aside my daily cares and concerns, entrusting them in Your hands, to step without fear into the role of an angel-on-earth for this person. When the time is right, let me hear of this person’s dream and then grant me the compassion to offer it a place in my heart, knowing that the same will be done for me by others, and that through this community endeavor we are each brought closer to You.


And now, in silence, let us lift the cares and meditations of our hearts...

Please pray with us now in the words that Jesus taught us...