Have a question about life, love, or faith? Post it as a comment or email it to melfert@stjohns-cathedral.org, or submit your question online privately.

Hey Rev!

Do you think dreams mean anything? I mean the kind that we wake up still thinking about, sometimes rattled, sometimes intrigued. Should we maybe pay attention to those?

- Dreamer

Dream photo courtesy Shutterstock

Dream photo courtesy Shutterstock


Dear Dreamer,

Dreams are one of the many ways that God may choose to speak with us. That’s by no means to say that every dream is a message from God (neither, for that matter, is everything that you hear in church). But it is to say that we are absolutely called to pay attention when a dream keeps on echoing in our imagination.

One of the most vivid dreams of my life came to me shortly before I was to be baptized. I dreamt that I was at the church late in the afternoon, perhaps an hour or two before the ceremony. And, while I was waiting, I overheard one of the priests explaining that what I would be expected to do that evening was to stand before the congregation and ritually commit suicide by falling on a sword. (At this point in the dream, I had a vivid and gruesome premonitory image of my death.) I spent the remainder of the dream anxiously chasing people around the church, trying to explain that this really wasn’t what I had signed up for. Somehow, it never occurred to me to try to run away.

As absurd as that dream was, it also proclaimed something profound about the nature of baptism — that this sacrament is a choice to undergo a kind of death to an old way of living and to be reborn as Jesus’ disciple and as his friend. For me, that dream was a moment of clarity. It helped to deepen my understanding of the awesome and liberating commitment into which I was entering.

If a dream leaves you rattled or intrigued, Dreamer, that’s an invitation to wonder, to ask questions. Why does this trouble me? Why does it excite me? How would I have felt if the dream were different — if something were added or taken away or changed? Why do I keep on hearing these particular words or seeing these particular images? Where might this dream be calling me?
Dreams are not a coded transmission — trying to beat a single and unambiguous message out of them is both silly and futile. Rather, they are more like clues, like driftwood which shows you the direction of the tide, like a bird in flight which teaches you about the wind. So, yes, pay attention, Dreamer. Be open to the possibilities and the lessons which your dreams have to share.

Have a question about life, love, or faith? Post it as a comment or email it to melfert@stjohns-cathedral.org, or submit your question online privately.

Categories: Beliefs


Martin Elfert

Martin Elfert

The Rev. Martin Elfert is an immigrant to the Christian faith. After the birth of his first child, he began to wonder about the ways in which the Divine was at work in the world. Shortly thereafter, he joined Christ Church Cathedral in Vancouver, BC, where he and his new son were baptized at the Easter Vigil in 2005 and where the community encouraged him to seek ordination.

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