Sunday, July 8, 2018
Today, in Mercy, our readings bring us the great prophets Ezekiel, Paul, and the Ultimate prophet, Jesus.
How did they become prophets? When they were little guys, how did they answer the perennial question, “What do you want to be when you grow up”? Unlikely that they responded, “A prophet, of course!” Probably it was something like a camel rider, a carpenter, or a farmer. So what changed them?
All three, by heritage and practice, were steeped in the traditions of the Hebrew Scriptures. As they grew up into the oppressive, idolatrous worlds of their particular time, the scriptural promises gave each of them hope. They developed, as the theologian Walter Brueggemann describes it, “the capacity to imagine the world seen through the eyes of … God.”
This kind of vision is not unknown to our times. A few years ago, it was very popular to ask, “WWJD? – What would Jesus do?” Some people even wore bracelets and medallions of the letters to remind them to look at life through Jesus’ eyes.
Although a bit simplistic, it’s still a good visual reminder. What is less evident is the implied thought that we must KNOW Jesus well enough to UNDERSTAND what He would do. A casual acquaintance won’t do the trick here. Prophets are intimate with God through prayer and the works of mercy. Over years of faithful practice, they have come truly to see the world as God sees it. They beat with God’s heart.
A prophet is profoundly realistic about the world’s ills, heartbroken for those who suffer, but nonetheless convinced that God will make something amazingly beautiful for God’s People. This conviction impels them to live, speak and act for this Godly vision.
We too are called to live with this kind of prophetic hope. It is not easy in our fractured world. But it is possible. Let today’s three Great Ones inspire and teach us.
Music: A Hymn to Hope from “The Secret Garden”