Our Old Testament reading for this our week to celebrate All Saints Sunday is a real stretch, Daniel 7:1-3, 15-18.
In the first year of King Belshazzar of Babylon, Daniel had a dream and visions of his head as he lay in bed. Then he wrote down the dream: I, Daniel, saw in my vision by night the four winds of heaven stirring up the great sea, and four great beasts came up out of the sea, different from one another.
As for me, Daniel, my spirit was troubled within me, and the visions of my head terrified me. I approached one of the attendants to ask him the truth concerning all this. So he said that he would disclose to me the interpretation of the matter: “As for these four great beasts, four kings shall arise out of the earth. But the holy ones of the Most High shall receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom for ever—for ever and ever.”
If you’re wondering what this has to do with the dearly departed saints, know that you’re in good company.
What we can say with confidence is that Daniel shifts in chapter 7 from being the interpreter of others’ dreams to being the dreamer himself. As with most passages from the Revised Common Lectionary, it’s always interesting to go look at what’s NOT included, in this case detailed descriptions of the four beasts, and perhaps more importantly, the appearance of “one like a human being” who receives dominion, glory, and kingship. We know all this was terrifying to Daniel, as it would be to most of us.
We’ll see how Father Wells deals with this one. Perhaps he can be forgiven if he simply ignores it. Because, and in this we can all take comfort, there are some GREAT scriptures still to come this week.