I had a dream early this morning.
I was resting in the embrace of Divine Love and then I slipped into a dream. I was standing on some lush, green landscape that somehow I knew.
However, I began to rise up into the air, slowly at first. I saw the trees and then the hills and then the landscape open up below me.
Then there were clouds and the ocean and then I was moving faster and I saw the earth spinning, blue and white, in the blackness of space.
For a moment, I thought I was going to fall and I felt suddenly afraid. But immediately I felt arms wrapped strong around my waist; I knew that embrace. He whispered in my ear, it's Me and I relaxed immediately, both into His arms and into the dream.
We moved backward, it seemed, deeper and deeper into space and I could see the lighted globes of planets and the spinning arms of galaxies streaking past. I began to wonder why this was happening and then we stopped.
I turned in the Beloved's embrace and looked at Him. His face was so grave and so serious that I wondered for a moment if I was with the Father and not the Son or perhaps the Trinity personified.
In the dream or experience, I didn't theologically question this wondering, I just moved through it, with the confidence of long intimacy and love. I said, "Which One are You? Show me Your hand."
And He did and I saw the nail marks, so I knew it was the Son. "Oh, it's You," I said, smiling and He smiled back at me.
Then it was as though I was drifting through space in His arms and there were other people, but I wasn't sure if they were actually there or not. But one of them made a loving gesture and my heart warmed.
I thought, "Ah, love!"
And it was as though the loving gesture was something bright tossed up into the galaxies and it made all the stars shine brighter.
Then in the dream, it was as though this man and the Beloved were dancing to jive music in the sky. It was very joyful and free and spontaneous and full of love.
The dream began to change- the space around them began to get compressed, more and more, until God and the man could not dance and were instead tightly confined into a small, flat, narrow box that was locked.
Immediately I was angry and dismissive. "This is just a dream," I said to myself. "This is just a dream after all, because no one can lock God in a box."
I flipped the box open as a gesture of contempt for the idea. It came open like those old cellar doors that were used to close off the stairs to the outside- like cellar bulkhead doors.
I was about to toss the dream aside when Jesus whispered in my ear, Wait and look.
So I actually looked at the dream scene in front of me and this feeling of awe and understanding slowly washed over me.
The flat box was not lying in space or in the ground; it was lying in a church aisle, up near the pulpit. To each side of it were the wooden pews and the inside of church walls with narrow, pointed windows.
The box was open and inside, I could see God and the man. God was holding the man in His arms. Behind them was the entire galaxy, resting right there in the middle of the white washed rows of wooden pews and plank wood walls.
This box was like a hot box- a flat, narrow box that slave holders and Japanese prison camp guards used to torture their slaves and prisoners by locking them in during the long hot days.
But the box was not confined! It was filled with the boundlessness of space- with Life, because God was there. No one can put God in a box and make Him smaller; He carries everything that He is with Him.
Abusive religion masquerading as tradition can try to lock a person away from God with rigid, legalistic boxes, but God stays with that person, holding them close in His arms, even in the hot box, and because God is there, all of Life is there.
They are held in Love, even when they don't know it or think it impossible for God to be with them in their hell. But He is. He always is. His love and life are there and sooner or later, those doors will come open.