Dreams can be of the ‘somewhere over the rainbow’ kind; or maybe of the ‘I’m dreaming of a white Christmas’ kind; or perhaps of the ‘I can’t remember where I parked my car’ nightmare kind. Some dreams in the Bible seem to be more like what we might call a vision, a picture, where God communicates with people at what often turn out to be significant moments.
In Jacob’s dream he saw a ladder, with angels on it going up and down, symbolically suggesting a movement from heaven to earth, and earth to heaven. When Jacob woke up, he was afraid, and said, ‘How awesome is this place!’ (Gen 28.17). This sense of awe or fear is often mentioned in connection with a dream or a vision from God, and this is one of the ways in which we can know that the dream is from God and not our own wishful thinking.
Jesus (in John 1:51) sees himself as a ladder, again with angels ascending and descending. As Son of Man he himself forms a permanent ladder between heaven and earth.
In 1866 Busbridge Church may well have been covered in ladders, well on the way to the completion of the building, which was consecrated on 1 March 1867. We are blessed with two beautiful church buildings, built to the glory of God. And God has now sent the gift of his Spirit, who enables us to dream, not our dreams, but his.