Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Prophets Now and Then

Prophets pretty generally make nuisances of themselves (like Jesus did!); they remind people of unpleasant realities that they have averted their eyes from. But they also open to peoples' consciousness the wonderful possibilities (as Jesus did!).

They have visions which they share freely, of things that seem wildly improbable to ordinary folk.

Ministers ostensibly have a prophetic role to play in their
communities, in addition to priestly and pastoral functions, but in present day churches the prophetic function seems remarkably rare, if not completely absent. Those preachers who presume to be prophetic usually come up with tepid prophecies about relatively inconsequential things; rarely an economic prophesy like the prophets of old and never a political one. Too controversial; we must avoid controversy at any cost; to be controversial means to "flee to the next town".

That of course is to be expected; prophesy is costly. Isaiah spent quite a while in the bottom of a cistern; Ezekiel spent six months in his underwear: three on each side-- eating dung; Jesus was crucified. No such types today!

But we must do it-- or worship the past.

"Would to God that all the Lord's people were prophets." (Moses, Numbers 11:29)


Marjorie said...

If I annoy people on a regular basis, can I call myself a prophet?
Interesting what you said about ministers -- I guess they can't make a profit by being a prophet.

Larry said...

Ans 1: yes, but the content determines whether you are a true or false prophet (are you putting me on?)

Ans 2: Indubitably. Did Jesus achieve a profit? In the coin of this world- nada. In the world above? Everything!

Marjorie said...

Yeah, I was putting you on about casting my annoying behavior as prophesy ;-) I try to keep the message pure, but I manage to muck it up time and again. I'll keep trying and I sure hope God will keep forgiving.

I wanted to point out an editorial by a Presbyterian minister questioning a resolution by his denomination against the war in Iraq. It seems to tie in with (or rather, counter) what you were saying about a minister's prophetic function. I'm not linking it because I agree with it, only because it seems on-topic and might give you fodder for another one of your sermons (which I adore).
A better thought, go to my blog (you can click on Sparky) and look for the post The Prophetic Function of Clergy, same date as this comment, which has a link to the editorial [my attempt to put a link here has been rejected repeatedly, they say my tag is broken. Like they know anything about my tag. Hhhmph!].