Dr. Verna Dozier was a 20th century author, teacher, Biblical scholar and prophet whose powerful faith and imagination challenged a generation of Episcopalians to become a church living up to its high calling to transform this beautiful and broken world into the kingdom come on earth God dreamed in creation. As we continue our journey into Lent and toward Easter, a few thoughts today from Dr. Dozier.
First, these quotes from her seminal work “The Dream of God”:
“The dream of God is that all creation will live together in peace, harmony and fulfillment. All parts of creation. And the dream of God is that the good creation that God created and then said ‘it is good’ will be restored.”
“God has paid us the high compliment of calling us to be coworkers with our Creator, a compliment so awesome that we have fled from it and taken refuge in the church. The urgent task for us is to reclaim our identity as the people of God and live into our high calling as the baptized community … that the dream of God for a new creation may be realized.”
And then this excerpt from her “Agenda for the 90’s” … with questions still relevant for us in 2021.
The kingdom of God versus the kingdoms of this world is my issue these days — and as I study the Scriptures I see it increasingly as Jesus’ issue, too. I think it is an issue that has been blurred as the church has settled for worshiping Jesus rather than following him.
I believe it is time to pay much more attention to Jesus of Nazareth — the Palestinian Jew who announced that the kingdom of God had come with him and who offered another possibility to humankind. But since it is another possibility that threatens the existing arrangements, the existing arrangements will bend every effort to destroy it: to water it down with religion or threaten it with disloyalty.
The cross is not only symbol; it is the sign of the collision of the kingdom of God and the kingdoms of this world.Dr. Verna Dozier, Agenda for the 90’s
I think that is what the temptations stories point to: Jesus’ absolute commitment to the vision of God above every other commitment. And I think working out the meaning of such a commitment would make an exciting and troubling agenda for the church.
What would it look like to actually follow Jesus?
These are the teachings that I wish I had found in my local Episcopalian church. I didn’t respond well to the expression of Christianity of other members…on some level I betrayed them and myself in not being able to communicate this dissatisfaction.