Monday, January 14, 2013

The Call to Prophecy

I am playing “catch-up” already. My intent, since November, was to restart blogging on a weekly basis and to use, as a foundation, one of the lectionary readings for the upcoming Sunday. But that’s okay. We need to be gentle with ourselves. My overall plan is to write/blog my way through each reading, one reading a week, starting with the Hebrew Bible. That works out to be a 10-12 year commitment…eh, but I ENJOY it! Though my foundational text may be Scriptural, the topics will be, well….‘topical.’ Let me show you what I mean….

Let’s look at the Hebrew Bible reading for Advent I, Year C (Revised Common Lectionary) – Jeremiah 33:14-16:

The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfil the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this is the name by which it will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness.’

I love Jeremiah. His prophecies always cut me to the core. Although this passage comes from one of the more hope-filled sections of the book, it contains a brutal clarity – a day IS coming when God’s promises will be fulfilled for us. These are words which can only be spoken to a people who are struggling through times of darkness and doubt. These are words we need to hear. These are words we need to cling to even when we doubt their very truth.

Jeremiah, like many of his predecessors, was a reluctant prophet, hoping that the mantle of prophetic responsibility would be passed to another. Yet we are never allowed to shirk from our call to be a prophetic people – speaking the truth, good or bad, popular or unpopular, to those who are eager to listen, to those who do not want to hear and, most frustratingly, to those who do not care.

Remember with me that prophecy is not predicting the future. It is telling the truth about what is happening here and now, pointing out what should be happening here and now. Warnings of disaster are meant to remind us of the consequences of not changing our ways. Visions of hope are meant to remind us that even in the darkest of times, God will not abandon us to our own destruction.

I am not apologizing for the late-ness of this first blog because truths (though conditional – a topic for later) are also timeless. It has taken me almost two months to realize that through this blog I am seeking a venue to speak truths that I believe people need to hear. Am I claiming to be a prophet? No more than I am calling you, dear follower, to your own prohetic role.

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