1“Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,”[a] for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’[b] or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

Revelation 21:1-4

On August 28th, 1963 Baptist minister Martin Luther King Jr. strode the 98 steps of the Lincoln Memorial in America’s Washington D.C. With more than 200,000 civil rights supporters assembled before him he began his entreaty, his melodious voice calling upon a nation to live out its inherited promises. With his rhythmic and passionate cadence he spoke for racial equality, calling upon biblical allusion, history and political ideal alike.

“No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream …”

“Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children …”

And as he neared his intended conclusion, King paused in the way of preachers of old, measured and intentional. And a familiar voice rang above the cheers and the din of the crowd to shout:

“Tell them about the dream, Martin!”

With this invocation he burst into the now famous words…

“I have a dream…”

“… I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; “and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together…”

Now these events occurred nearly twenty years before I was born, and yet as I read and listen again today I find the hope in King’s voice tangible; real. King called on the American people to live up to the promises inherited within the American story – calling upon familiar Biblical principles and  the very foundations of the country as an inspiration to live by. He told of a dream to be shared and he gave his life for this cause and for Christ, ultimately being assassinated very shortly after delivering his moving speech, “I’ve Been To The Mountaintop”. He made it clear that he lived for something bigger than himself, and he fully believed in, lived, and died for the story he told.

In many ways, “I Have A Dream (It Feels Like Home)” is inspired by this very speech.  But with it we seek to communicate a sense of the Christian dream.  And so it is also inspired by the Christian story (and, strangely, the Wizard of Oz – a familiar story of a strange world and the longing to awake and find yourself at home). In Revelation 21, God reveals to us the ultimate conclusion of our story, the eventual end.

We often speak as a band about what we like to call “hopeful nostalgia”, the idea that each of us (Christian or not) wrestle with the feeling that the world today is not as it ought to be – that we don’t feel fully at home. C.S. Lewis talks about this too, saying, “If I find in myself a desire that no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probably explanation is that I was made for another world.”

What’s amazing about what the Bible reveals to us about our world and our story is that it isn’t simply about what happens to us when we die. While that’s certainly relevant, the Christian story is also one that points us outwards, looking towards the eventual reuniting of Creator with the assembled created.  Our hope can’t simply be about Heaven and Hell, but is a dream that one day the sufferings of this world will come to an end altogether – and emboldened by that dream we are to seek to be a part of that now. It’s a story of Jesus giving of himself for others and now asking us to do the same. It’s a story that begins with God and his creation united in peace, and ends the same way. For now, we live life in between.

Ultimately, this is a song of longing, hope and love for the life lived in between – the story of a now-but-not-yet people looking through a glass darkly and eagerly anticipating the day when, altogether standing in the Son-light, we’ll finally feel at home.

I have a dream that you can have with me
Of a city that shines so bright at night
Where love is true, but this love – He finds you
And there is a fire in his eyes
Where I can see everything’s alright.

And it feels like home, sweet home.
And there’s no place like home.

When I awake that day in glory
Your love will light the city streets
And we won’t need our songs of longing
We’ll be a symphony of peace
Brothers and sisters, we’ll be free
Thank God Almighty, we’ll be free

And it feels like home, sweet home.
And there’s no place like home.

O, I hear them bells a ringin’
O, I see the city lights.
O, the dream is real until you close your eyes.

It feels like home.


2 thoughts on “I Have A Dream (It Feels Like Home) Song Story

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