Continuing our Advent journey, on day 5 we consider how we might come to imagine a different future.
I see the Bible as a magnificent library of books that record how mankind seeks to understand God. There are many ways to read and engage with the texts but one way that I find meaningful is to see the stories it contains as a process of evolution of understanding; humankind starts in innocence, then we stumbled into acquisition and successions of empire building. All through this process however, there were people who saw differently. People who risked everything to speak a different truth, calling us to a more lovely, more beautiful, more loving (otherwise known as ‘more holy’) version of ourselves.
These people were usually called ‘Prophets’. Men and women who belonged to the awkward squad. They were often irritants, weirdos, wild visionaries. Sometimes people in power listened. Mostly they did not.
Notice friends, that we have tended to understand the word ‘prophecy’ to be concerned with predictions of future events, but this is just one way to understand it. The more common use for the recorded prophetic utterances in the Bible was to speak truth to power. Prophets were people who saw things differently and were brave enough to do something about it. Some things have not changed. We need our prophets more than ever.
The Advent story includes an old man called Simeon who had spent a life time longing for things to be different. You can read about him here.
A shuffling walk, awkward
followed by strange words,
spat out like spears.
Be still my child
for the Prophet speaks.
“For unto us a child is born.
Unto us a son is given.
And the government shall be
upon his shoulders.”
“The Spirit of the Lord will dance within him;
He will turn the power games upside down
The poor will be his priority
Those locked out will be welcomed in
Fools will open their eyes for the first time
To the debtors
He will shout
The Prophet was rigid
All angles like a marionette
“He is coming.”
“He is coming.”