I had a dream. I seldom dream and if I dream, I hardly remember. Dreams are just not my thing. But this dream was different. I remembered every detail. I can still see it. The more I thought about it. I realized it must be shared.
In my dream I arrived at a house in the north part of Santa Ana where there are older historical homes, many are mansions, and the area is expensive. Santa Ana is divided into three areas, the north where the professionals live, the central area where the low-income hard-working immigrants live in very crowded conditions, and then there is the south, where I live, with nice middle-class neighborhoods.
I arrived at an older off-white house. It had the old plaster look, simple, but elegant. Vines grew up the two-story home giving it charm and a feeling that it was well cared for. I sensed I was coming to a party. I was a little early to help prepare and set up. It was a very important event. In fact, it was a party for me and a special person. He was a decorated war veteran returning from a very important assignment. I walked up to the house, and looked at the front window. There was a sign on the window made with spray paint and a stencil. The sign was crooked and over-sprayed. It looked terrible. The sign read “wedding.”
“WEDDING! Was this my wedding? This can’t be! I don’t have a wedding dress! I am not ready to get married. I haven’t picked out the colors.” Did I forget something, I wondered. “Was that important man coming to marry me? No, no, this cannot be a wedding.” I walked through the lovely house to the back where the kitchen was and asked some people who were cooking what they were serving. They showed me a few cut pieces of cobs of corn in a small bowl. They looked wilted. This is not right! People do not want to come to an elegant party and chew on corn cobs in-front of other people. The food is inappropriate for a wedding, much less a nice party.
I looked at the tables that were set up in the back patio. The tablecloths were a nice hunter green. But oh, my! There were crumbs and strings on the tablecloths. They looked used. Who would want to eat the food from those tables? I increasingly became uneasy. Then I asked some of the volunteers what time the party was starting? “In fifteen minutes!!!! Yikes!” I panicked and called my husband, “Help, please go shopping and get some chicken, salads, and deserts. “Go to Charo’s Chicken and get the seasoned chicken and get the rest at Stater Bros. in the deli department.” “Bring extra drinks!” I added.
“Don’t come in from the front. Drive down the long drive way to the back and don’t let anyone see you sneak in the food.”
I turned to the group of volunteers who also came to set up. “Who knows how to clean windows well without streaking?” I person raised his hand. Go and clean that messy sign off the window. The one that says, wedding. We are NOT having a wedding! Who can do calligraphy or has nice writing? Another person took a step forward. “Take this paper and make a nice sign; fold it three ways so it can stand on a table. Write on it ‘Engagement Party.’”
“You two young men I need you to pick up this table and take it to the front of the house, place it on the left side with these few drinks and the sign “engagement party.’” Be sure and shake off the table cloth and turn it upside down. We will serve drinks prior to the dinner in the front yard.
“Who knows where the lights are in the house? Hurry, and turn on the lights!” It is starting to get dark. The lights will look warm and inviting.” “The rest of you, shake out the other tablecloths, turn the table cloths upside down and arrange them nicely in the patio. Tuck the chairs in under the table so it looks neat and prepared.” “Do not serve the corn! But it away. My husband is bringing the food.”
The group heard the urgency in my voice and we all knew the time was short everyone had to do their part to make this party go. Soon we were all ready, ready for the guests. And most important we were ready for the important guest!
This was strange. I was married. But in my dream, I was getting married to an important man, a decorated man, who had earned lots of metals. As I pondered the thought. I woke up. Who was this man? I knew I had talked to him a lot, we were friends, and I admired him. I was looking forward to seeing him and getting to know him better. But was I going to marry him?
Then I realized what the dream meant. Jesus, my friend, and confidante, was coming for his bride. But we were not ready. I was not ready. In fact, if he came unexpectedly, we would be embarrassed. We were not ready to receive him! He wanted to come and marry us and take us to himself, but we were hardly engaging. We were busy with other things. The time was short, we had to move into action. Everyone had to do what they were good at; the window cleaner, the calligrapher, and the strong men to carry the table. The kitchen staff had to clean up the kitchen and prepare the tables. And someone had to go get the food!
If we moved out, quickly the guests would be greeted with a refreshing drink, had time to talk and meet each other, speculate about the important guest and the event. The house was warm with the glow of the lights inside, the house was beautiful and the kitchen was clean; the old corn was put away. Fresh, warm inviting food arrived just in time, from the car to the patio tables. The guests saw the lovely sign and realized this was an engagement party, a time of preparation for the big day.
I had been studying the book of Nehemiah in the Old Testament of the Bible. After the 70 years of captivity in Babylon, the people had finally returned to Jerusalem. But the walls were broken down, everything was in disarray, no one had taken care of the city. This made Nehemiah weep. The king who he worked for, asked him, “Why are you so depressed and weepy?” The king released him from his normal duties and allowed him to go and rebuild the walls. In fact, the king provided lots of resources.
Nehemiah went to Jerusalem. He talked to the people and assigned them work to do. You go and fix the wall near your house. And you go over there and fix that section of the wall, and you go over there. What looked like an overwhelming job, soon appeared feasible. Each one could work on their own section of the project.
They also had to work quickly and cautiously because there were enemies who did not want them to succeed. Nehemiah told them to work with their trough, their building tools, but to also carry a sword to protect themselves from the enemy. In the end, Nehemiah described his assignment. “And I gathered them together and set them in their place.” (Nehemiah 13:11)
That is the assignment of the Orange County Mentoring Center. We are gathering experts and those who want to work. There is a sense of urgency! We have to prepare the church for the second coming of Christ. He wants a pure, unspotted bride, a prepared bride, prepared to rule and reign with him.
It is time to get ready, the bridegroom is at the door. He is coming! Let’s purchase a beautiful white dress. “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this; To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” James 1:27
The Orange County Mentoring Center is ready to help the church prepare for the bridegroom. We have a sense of urgency and want to assist God’s people in finding their place in ministry. As we pray and seek His will in our lives, the Lord of the Harvest, the Holy Spirit, will lead us. Visit OCMentoring.com