This morning I read from the prophet Jeremiah, and in those readings the prophet warned the Israelites of the consequences of their actions. He warned them of the battles that loomed ahead as the result of their unfaithfulness to their God. That is what prophets do, they observe in the light of the Lord, report what they see, and give warning or advice as needed. They seem to be similar to the fortune tellers, with the exception that their message was from the Lord. Their testaments were taken quite seriously, and that does not imply that their advice was always taken. Often prophets were cursed for giving a message that a king did not want to hear. A false prophecy could spell death.
I don’t know whatever happened to the prophets of Israel. I suspect they dispersed when the Kingdom of Israel was overtaken (Jeremiah warned them!). They might not have been welcomed in Judea as that followed a different culture. The last prophet we Christians hear of is Saint John the Baptist. This puzzle has little to do with yesterday, it has more to do with today.
I wonder, what if a prophet were to speak today. What if the role of prophet had not disappeared? What would one of the Lords prophets tell us today? On one hand I can hear the prophets of a country. Those I can recognize under a different name. They are the political pundits, the news editorialist, and the commentators. Their advice fills the airwaves. Talking Heads in music-speak. There also are those in the official capacity, they are the ones that sit with the president around an oval table. The senior advisors, though in that case the president picks his prophets.
Those are the closest we have to a country-prophet. What about the kingdom within a kingdom, the Church? Do we have a prophet there? Does a Sunday homily count? Of course the Priests give fair warning of the culture of the day, but they are Priests not prophets. I will admit, I am taking a few liberties here, for the sake of argument. They proclaim the good news, not always give warning of the bad. From them descend, bishops, cardinals, and the pope. All proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ. Their role isn’t primarily reporting the plight of their flock. An exception, the papal letters. Take note. There is a subtle difference. Theirs is to guide, they are not an impartial observer screaming in the light of God. Prophets scream and stomp their feet, they do little else. They interpret and inform, they do not administer. Minister.
What would a prophet tell us today? For the fate of the country, the presidential candidates do enough talking. They proclaim and do little else. Therefore they serve as prophets at least until one of them gets elected, at that point they have a change in Job Title. Prophet to President. But what about the kingdom within a kingdom? What about Christians?
Where is our prophet, where is our screamer? Yes, I know Jesus ended the prophets of Israel, the alpha and omega. I am not arguing against His teachings. I am simply wondering, what would Jeremiah scream about today? In many ways I can hear him. I can hear him warning of becoming too mingle with the pagans, I can hear him warn of unfaithfulness, I can hear him scream “turn back to the Lord!” That probably is why the ancient prophet’s messages are so relevant. They had a message that is timeless, the pit our ancestors fell into is the same one we enthusiastically dive into today. Like them, we take bad advice. Like them, we turn to false gods. Like them, we dilute our beliefs. Like them, we become complacent. The pitfalls remain remarkably the same, it’s only the details that change. Perhaps that is why I hear those prophet’s screaming even though no one is making a sound. It is not the voices I hear, but instead what I hear that rumbles between them. The voices scream their progressive and secular and liberal agendas. The voice between them rumbles WARNING, and that rumble is getting louder. I know that ultimately the rumble of the LORD will prevail. I wonder what our fate will be when that sound finally breaks through, what will lie in its wake, what will be in our path when the prophets warning comes true?
I can hear all of our current commentators loudly and clearly, I can hear all of the experts chime in. I can hear them tell us what to do and what to believe and who to trust. Yet amongst all of their racket, I can still hear the loud screams of the likes of Jerimiah, the Old Testament prophets, shouting “don’t listen to them” and “take off the silk and wear the sackcloth”, “tear those garments, and splash that face with ash!” “Don’t believe that which they tell you, for trouble certainly looms ahead.” So different from the message screamed from the left, “Follow me!” and screamed from the right, “no, follow me!” I add the right winged conservative fanatics because many say if you can’t turn left, you must go right. No, the voice of the prophets still scream what the Baptist did, Repent and make way for the Lord. Not left nor right, but straight and narrow. Sorry Donald, and sorry Hillary; but this rant against both of you.
(Again I know Christ is priest, prophet, and king so don’t twist these words. This is neither thesis nor dissertation, its nothing academic. It’s a what-if from something I read, it is a rant focused on today.)