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Role of a Prophet

July 23, 2012

Ezekiel 2: 2, 4-5

“As the LORD spoke to me, the spirit entered into me
and set me on my feet
and I heard the one who was speaking say to me:
Son of man, I am sending you…..

But you shall say to them: Thus says the Lord GOD!
And whether they heed or resist--for they are a rebellious house--
they shall know that a prophet has been among them.”

We look to Jesus and other prophets to learn how to live our prophetic role. A prophet, as you know, is one who speaks for another.

We see diversity in the ways biblical prophets received their call, their response to it—either immediate willingness or reluctance to prophesy, and the results: acceptance or rejection of the message. We also see that when God calls one to prophesy, God always assures: I will be with you, AND, God will not take NO for an answer.

The word of God is powerful. It gets things done. “Let there be light!” and there was light. The letter to the Hebrews describes the word of God “as sharper than any two-edged sword. It divides soul from spirit and is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

We can read in the Gospel that Jesus went to Nazareth to teach in the synagogue. The members took offense at him and at the same time fulfilled the saying: Prophets are not without honor, except in their hometown, and among their own kin, and in their own house.

It seems that Jesus was too ordinary. They knew him and his family. “Who does he think he is?” The parallel passage in Luke gives an additional reason: they did not like his message.

In Luke 4, Jesus went to the synagogue in Nazareth, and read from Isaiah: The spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. At first they were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth.

It took time for the Chosen People to learn that God’s compassion extends to all. Even so, it takes time for us to understand God’s call to us in the prophetic work of compassion.

As in The Acts of the Apostles, Peter addressed a gathering of Gentiles and said: “The truth I have now come to realize is that God does not have favorites.”

The word of God that puts us on our feet is most often in hearing the needs of others, and by it by our action in response to those needs. For example – our action by living out Matthew 25. I was hungry, thirsty, homeless, etc. and you ministered to me directly and/or worked to change the systems that cause people to be hungry, thirsty and homeless …
Among the many causes out there, to keep sane, it is good to focus on one. This will depend upon God’s personal call to your heart.

I conclude with these words to be pondered: “What I do with my heart influences the universe.”

Florence Steichen