(A reflection by Revd Dean Pusey | Curate, Holy Trinity. Aldershot)
‘I can see, I can see, I can see, I can see
I can see right through you
A dream's a dream and I'm wishing on a star
So through the darkness, show me who you are’
As I was reflecting on Black History Month, something provoked these lyrics from A Dream’s a Dream, 1990s song by UK black soul collective: Soul to Soul. I want to connect them to the narrative of Joseph and the origin stories of Genesis in the Hebrew Bible.
Some of us may be more familiar with the musical of Joseph and his technicolour dream coat. In a sense we get distracted by the coat and songs, but the wearer and their journey from the Hebrew Bible text Genesis chapters 40-50, is one that I identify with as a baseline to this story.
Joseph is part of a complicated family relationship: a doting father, an ambitious mother, jealous brothers who, consumed by jealousy due to favouritism, sends him to a life of slavery to be at the whims and fortunes of traders and an empire.
There are many twists and turns in the story in relation to money, sex, and power. But Pharoah does not know that he is in need of the God of Joseph, the outsider, who brings salvation to a whole nation in its time of great need.
Joseph’s story has a particular affinity for those, like myself, who are from a Black and Asian Minority Ethnic/Global Majority heritage background and encounter the experiences of ‘host’ whether welcoming, hostile or even indifferent.
Sometimes we are viewed more as guests, never quite the same status as hosts in our encounters with life through health, both physical and mental, criminal justice, the public, social and political sphere.
There are many dreams of the Josephs and Josephines who came in search of a better life and are here because the hosts were there. They have made huge contributions to the rebuilding of a war-ravaged country that needed economic labour to survive, e.g. the NHS and public transport. Yet they are asked ‘where are you really from?’ as if you cannot possibly be born here.
There is a puzzlement of not understanding or even taking the time to understand that our histories, the good, bad and the ugly, are entwined.
My role as a global majority heritage priest brings a different embodiment and experience and understanding that can be part of bringing the Word, Sacrament and spirit together with a different energy.
The Global Anglican Communion is already here with ‘colour and spice’, flavouring places that might be bland and monochrome. These are spiritual treasures within people, both lay and ordained, that can and must be developed for the salvation of the whole Church.
As the song says, ‘A Dream’s a Dream! By uncovering these treasures, we may find deeper hallmarks of love, truth and justice if we are willing to do the work of repentance and repair that can lead to further reconciliation, not just in words but in action
So I wonder, how might we develop further our relationships with global majority heritaged people and communities in our midst?