I had a dream last week that was unusual. I dreamed I was at the Charles E. Bailey Sportplex practice fields Wednesday night just before prayer meeting to talk with some of the children and their parents. 

When my sons were little boys I coached them in league baseball, traveled to tournaments and did all I could to let them enjoy being on a team. Yet, everyone — especially my sons — knew where I stood on Wednesdays and at Sunday games. 

In spite of not playing on those days one of my boys was offered a scholarship to play at Mississippi State so I was well aware of where parents and their kids are at game time. Yet in this dream, to my amazement, no one was there except a man cutting the grass. 

Usually on Wednesday afternoons there are all kinds of sports activities and practices scheduled. Dreams can be so confusing.

I walked up to the man and asked him where everyone was. After all, it was practice and game time. Had the rapture occurred and I hadn’t heard about it? 

That was a disturbing thought even for a dream, especially being a minister and being left behind.

“Where have you been?” the man replied. “Folks in Alexander City haven’t used Wednesday nights for sports in a long time. Don’t you know it is a night the churches meet?”

“What?” I asked in amazement. “Did the mayor issue a decree or the city council a resolution or is there a new parks and recreation board sympathetic to the church’s role in the community?” 

This must be a dream.

“Why no sir,” the fellow said. “You see, all the Christian parents and coaches got together and decided they were sending the wrong message to their children. They were talking about Christ being first on Sundays but were delivering their kids to practices and games on Wednesday. I guess you could say it was sort of an awakening for them.” 

Yes sir, I was definitely having a dream. 

So in my dream I hurried to the church and sure enough there were the children in their mission study groups, choirs and Bible studies. Even their parents were there in their places as examples of Christ being first. Christian families were setting the pace for the community. 

Even as I dreamed the thought came to me I must be dreaming. Looking at all those folks in God’s house taking a stand with their presence brought tears to my eyes. They came because they realized the importance of putting Christ first, not because of preachers and politicians closing down the parks. They came out of a conviction Christ was Lord and their witness was vital in raising their children. This truly was a dream coming true.

Suddenly, I was startled from my dream by the phone’s insistent ringing. I felt it must be an emergency because it was only 6 a.m. and everybody knows preachers don’t work for a living.

“Pastor,” a lady’s distressed voice said, “I’m sorry to call so early but I need your help.” 

I was immediately in super-pastor mode and ready to respond to her great needs. I assured her I was listening and ready to help.

“Good because I know it is Wednesday morning and we have church tonight. My little girl has baton and gymnastics at the same time her mission group meets and I was wondering if you could get them to change it to another time.”

I knew then it was only a dream.

Dr. Gerald Hallmark is a retired minister living in Alexander City whose column appears here each Friday.