Sunday, July 13, 2008

Yesterday I awoke at 8:42 with much alarm since I was due at the church at 9:00 for a dream group meeting. I literally jumped into my clothes and shoes, hurriedly washed my face, combed my hair, and ran out the door to my car explaining to Mike on the way out that I was late for a meeting at the church. Oh, and I did take time to grab a Diet Dr. Pepper and cereal bar to take with me. I was only 5 minutes late for the meeting.

On the way, I tried to find a number on my cell phone to call to let them know I was on my way. The only church member's number that survived the swimming pool dunking and SIM card transfer was that of our choirmaster David. He has a reputation for being grouchy first thing in the morning (I can relate), but I called him anyway to see if he had numbers for a couple of the group's members. He gave me one, but by the time I got it, I was only a block away from the church, so I really didn't need it after all. The meeting was held outside on the lawn in the shade and was very productive.
I talked about the dreams I posted on Friday and identified some of the messes that I need to clean up and some messes that don't belong to me and are not my responsibility. There are deeper meanings to those dreams, but this is a start.
Later in the day, I read some more in Sue Monk Kidd's book Dance of the Dissident Daughter, in which she struggles to free herself from a patriarchal religious system and to claim the parts of herself that had been lost due to lifelong veneration of the male Father, Son and Holy Ghost, something else with which I easily identified. She made a move early in her awakening from the Baptist Church to the Episcopal Church, but was still bothered by the predominantly male authority system in that denomination, too. (It was written before our current Presiding Bishop was elected, The Most Rev. Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori.)
It was really no surprise, given the influences of the day, that I recalled the following dream so clearly.

I’m in a rural outdoor setting, standing in line with several Episcopalians for communion. The altar is only big enough for two to kneel at a time; it resembles the kneeler used in weddings for the bride and groom. David O. and an anonymous woman are kneeling and receiving. The priest serving communion is merely a nameless, faceless, genderless presence.

Next in line are the retired Bishop Gray and Mrs. Gray. Then me. A long line of people stretch behind me. I do not have a “partner,” so whoever is in line behind me would, I presume, kneel with me, another anonymous presence.

Seated to the right of the altar is Pope Benedict, but it‘s to my left since I‘m facing the altar. We are expected to kneel in front of him and receive a blessing after we have received the bread and wine. He is dressed in a simple white robe, none of the ornate ceremonial vestments, and he's seated in a simple chair, no throne.

I’m wondering how I might receive communion then go in the opposite direction from the Pope without insulting the man. I really do not want to bow to him and the oppressive system of patriarchy that he represents. I’m watching David O. to see what he does, but before he gets up from the altar, I wake up.

This is a significant dream, and deserves all the attention I can give it. I would really like to talk to an expert about this one. Maybe I should call for an appointment with the woman who led our workshop.

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