Hearing the prophets

 

"Prophecy is a way of thinking as well as a way of living." - Abraham Heschel

This Advent we've committed to an examination of the prophets.  Isaiah in particular stands out, both in our lectionary, but also in his portrayal of the Savior yet to come.  As I reflect on the prophets of our scripture, I've been struck by how different their role was than the call of God to be prophetic today.  This was further accentuated as I listen to Dr. Hunt's presentation this past Sunday (now available via YouTube on our website).

The religious culture in the time of the prophets was far different than what exists today, or even in early Christianity.  Judaism remains the last example of 'primal' religion; having no expectation of converting others.  Primal faith expanded only through birth and kingdoms conquering other kingdoms.  The prophets spoke boldly of God's claim, without fear of someone simply going to another church, or having their spiritual needs met through other means.  Don't mistake me, the role of the prophet was still inordinately difficult.  Today, we face a different challenge as we aim to be prophetic.

How then, do we speak prophetically without scaring people away?  We continue to proclaim the truth and wisdom that the scriptures captured from the prophets and Jesus.  God calls us to share the grace and love we experience as we encounter God.  This call is magnified with those who are oppressed.  As we move toward the celebration of the Incarnate God, may the blessedness of the human form be known.  God's love triumphs over sorrow and oppression.  May God give us ears to hear the call of the prophets, may God grant our hearts capacity to respond to the needs of those around us, may God draw our awareness to the completeness we experience in Christ.