When was the last time you heard a prophet speak? It might be easier if we come from a different angle. What do prophets do? Prophets speak out against the comfortable views of the establishment and call people to turn back to God, and for society to focus on those most in need. They are people who feel a deep care for the full humanity of all people—not just their own kind. They see the world as it is and challenge those with privilege and power, calling them to do more to bring about a just and equal society.
The institutional church is often afraid of prophets. They challenge the status quo. They say that things might need to change—and change is uncomfortable. Prophets risk being pushed to the margins, but they challenge out of a deep sense of love for humanity and a vision of a better world.
I’ve heard some prophets speak recently. I’ve heard people saying things that are uncomfortable about our society and our church. I’ve heard people remind me that I’m privileged and that our church is more likely to be like the Romans from Jesus’ time, than Jesus. That is a challenge. How do we stand alongside the poor, the oppressed, those most in need in our society?
I’m a great believer that the good news only means something to people when we unite our words with actions. Not only do we proclaim good news, but we demonstrate the good news in action through being Christ’s body and through challenging injustice and standing with the poor and oppressed. We continually talk about the need for our churches to grow and I believe they will when we listen to prophets speak and stand with those most in need in our world.
As Jesus said, when we welcome prophets we welcome him. When we give to those most in need, we are doing the work of the reign of God. Let us challenge our own comfortable living to reach out to those who need to know the good news.