Resisting Prophetic Vision

Reading    Luke 4:21-30


                     And he said, "Truly I tell you,

                     no Prophet is accepted in his hometown...

                     When they heard this, all in the synagogue were filled with rage.

                     They got up, drove Jesus out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill

                     on which their town was built, so that they might hurl him off the cliff.

                     But Jesus passed through the midst of them and went on his way.



Luke's Gospel sets before us the stark reality of prophetic voice. Upon first hearing, the hometown crowd is amazed at the gracious words Jesus speaks. They marvel at the wisdom coming from the carpenter's son. And then, within moments, they turn in sharp rage, drive him out to the edge of the city and plan to hurl him off the cliff. "Truly, I tell you, no prophet is accepted in his hometown."  It seems prophetic utterance awakens resistance and disturbance as it enters within a  person, a community.  

From Hebrew tradition we know that the true prophets, the nabi, performed functions within their community. He or she was called by God, anointed by God, and sent to speak a Word of God that was always two-edged. The prophet's function was corrective and innovative; was to protest and to point to new ways of being/doing; was to tear down and to build up. The false prophets spoke only one-sided messages to the people. They were either all angry protesters speaking gloom and doom and harsh condemnation or others spoke only of the promise and hope ... all milk and honey.



The true prophet - then and now- is one who is strong enough and flexible enough to hold the tension of the opposites within his/her person. One who can balance the protest and the peace, the corrective and the innovative, the darkness and the light, the agony and the ecstasy. Prophecy, that marvelous gift of the Spirit is being poured out afresh in these times. Throughout history, whenever there have been periods of transition, crisis or societal confusion, the graced 'energy' of God's love stirred with compassion for our human vulnerability and a prophet emerged giving ‘voice’ to a new way forward that transcends the present reality. The prophetic vision is always an invitation to accept a wider vision of the loving, inclusive reign of God!



Each of our own personal lives is in constant need of listening to the still small voice of prophecy waiting in mystery within the depths of our own being. We all recognize how at times our lives shift out of balance, how we can make easy shifts of compromise with secular values, or we perceive those slow, gradual evasions and displacements of our angers, lusts and power.  In moments of quiet, we hear those interior calls from the Spirit deep within. At first, they can evoke a 'protest' - a challenge, a call to return to correct our choices, our behaviors that are life-negating for ourselves and others. This voice within that protests our shifting away from our own truth is really God calling us back to balance where we can live life more abundantly.



This is the dimension of prophecy, the VOICE-WITHIN that we so often rebel against and try to silence for all the discomfort and displeasure it brings. How well we know the interior groanings of our own resistance, reluctance, our dis-ease with the stark reality of facing the inner truth.  The 'hometown" that refuses to listen and accept us is often in the depths of our own soul. The "set of rebels" that refuses to listen are often parts of me that I am, as yet, not willing to embrace - my own brokenness, shadow-side, my inner poverty.



However, if we trust staying with the pain of this interior confrontation, and hold the tension, allowing our unfree and false self to be embraced in the compassionate, merciful loving arms of God, we break through to the second dimension of the prophetic utterance. We come into a way of being that is filled with new abundant life, freedom, liberation and transformation. The need for prophecy stays over us. It seems to have a cyclic rhythm returning to restore us to balance in the midst of our fluctuating maturing evolution as individuals and as community. What a wonderful new day when we can break through together - as a prophetic community - discovering the beautiful vision first revealed and manifested in the words and life of Jesus of Nazareth, the carpenter's son. 


Carrying Grace        Listen to Me. The truth will set you free.                                      



#4 arletteh 2010-02-06 15:02
So good to be reminded about our "evasions" of the Spirit's voice.They contribute to causing our "shadow " side to become too strong. I am always so grateful for the season of Lent, to hear better that voice again.The Scriptures are for me such a help. Thank you so much, rosemary, and all contributors!
#3 Mark Dickinson 2010-02-04 20:47
What a beautiful message, Rosemary! So often, it is hard for us to hear, or rather listen for, the still quiet voice of God. A contemplative heart opens our ears, and our mind, to feel and know the presence of God. Although it is sometimes a challenging (and often frustrating) process, with patience, and practice, the voice of God will grow louder ... as we listen closer to the Whisper of Love.
#2 kathleenh 2010-02-04 19:58
Thankyou Rosemarie for your message. Here in our community we are suddenly aware of the number of our sisters who are vulnerable and fragile, and we see daily the great compassion of our God expressed in the little kindnesses of the sisters to each other, this surely is a prophetic witness of the great love of God revealed in the simplicity of everyday relationships.
#1 Margaret Foster 2010-02-02 20:10
Dear Rosemary, I've been thinking about what you said concerning prophecy and I thought it was really good, but what struck me most was "...the graced energy of God's love stirred with compassion for our human vulnerability..."

For a long time I've seen myself as wulnerale, weak and wounded, but now I'm thinking about the whole of humanity as being so, and God, not condemning, but enfolding everyone, even the most wicked, in his infinite love and compassion, knowing that each person is weak, wounded and vulnerable. I think that God must look at us with overwhelming love and sadness, but also with joy. We are God's work of art, and in each of us God sees the face of Jesus.

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