Like those who dream

Published July 1, 2010

“When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream” (Ps. 126:1).

Our awareness of God’s presence often unfolds over time, just like a dream. Consider the appearances of Jesus, after his resurrection. Think of the daily miracles that surround you, God’s work in your own life. They all have a mysterious way of revealing and hiding at the same time.

In the dreamlike sequence of the disciples’ walk to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35) with the resurrected Jesus, he is completely present but only perceived when he breaks bread. Afterwards, the disciples realized that their hearts had known what was too great for their minds to understand. As he walked with them, hidden to their full consciousness, he revealed the truth of his life and gospel to them. They recognized later that their hearts were burning as he spoke.

Many hearts were burning during the consecration of Lydia Mamakwa (“mamakwa” means “butterfly” in Oji-Cree) as the bishop for the people of the northern Ontario region of the diocese of Keewatin. The manifold significance of this godly innovation will take some time to unfold among us: its meaning for indigenous peoples; for women; and for the structures of our church. For the people of northern Ontario and indigenous peoples, it is a restoration. This consecration displays the spiritual authority of these indigenous communities, unveiled as the key component of an overall renewal. The vision of the elders that led to this event is a gospel testimony to God’s power.

In this dream coming true, we can see that God never leaves us even though, in our grief and pain, we can miss that he is walking with us. All of the communities involved in this restoration have suffered much over the past few decades. Quite a bit of it is related to the church. Nevertheless, the living Word of God is always present, often hidden in plain sight, even to those who believe. In God, in the power of Christ’s cross and resurrection, the pain of the past does not define the future.

While it has special meaning for indigenous peoples, this event also speaks to a much broader audience. This restoration is one that all can share. Pay attention and ponder this event, especially the next time you see Jesus breaking the bread in the Eucharist. Your heart may be burning too, as God unfolds something great. Ω

Bishop Mark MacDonald is national indigenous bishop of the Anglican Church of Canada.


  • Mark MacDonald

    Mark MacDonald was national Indigenous Anglican bishop of the Anglican Church of Canada from 2007 to 2019, and national Indigenous Anglican archbishop from 2019 to 2022.

Related Posts

Skip to content