Prophesy, Raising Our Voices

Grace and Peace to you

Beloved

As we wrestle with the foolishness

Of the Cross

That stands in opposition to this world

Encouraging, empowering us as people of Faith

To be living Witnesses

Calling us from our Ordinary Places

To Speak an Extraordinary Word

Of Love that has no end

Flowing from our Risen Savior and Lord

Jesus Christ

Amen.

(pause)

There is the never ending struggle

To speak prophetically

In those physical

Emotional

Or even spiritual

That would rather

Draw the shades

And the curtains

Blocking out the intense magnificence

Of God’s Mercy and Grace

That flows down over us

From the Holy Spirit

(pause)

Along this life’s journey

We find ourselves

Detoured and uncomfortable

Because God is tugging

Worrying at the fringes of our own spirits

Challenging us to raise our voices

To witness

To testify

To profess

Because the collective weight of our forgetfulness

Of whose we are

And what we have been called to

Has shifted away

From the plumb line in the Creator’s Hands

(pause)

So with some hesitation

We ask the perplexing question,

Use me, Lord?

Within our souls beats too much uncertainty

The uncertainty that our insignificant voices

Are missing the substantial authority

That is needed

To shift the atmosphere

Pushing humanity into clear waters of righteousness

Rinsing away the grit of life’s brokenness

(pause)

Again we ask the question,

Me, Lord?

Our very beings tremble, shaken by fears

Fearful of not being equipped enough

As the words fall sadly from our lips

Fearful of the rejection that we experience

From a scrutinizing world, we lack their credentials

Notoriety and Importance does not cling to our clothing

Even still, no one will bother to listen

Because we find ourselves at a loss

for what therapeutic words

we can share

that can stitch together open wounds

(pause)

Strangely enough

When we barge our way in,

And people listen

Listen to our prayers,

Our testifying

Our cries

We who are seen as

Prophets,

Preachers

Teachers

Run the risk

Of losing access to the inner circle

Losing access to comfort and security

Losing our jobs

Seeing friendships wither

Losing the places of connectedness

Thrust into exile and to the widening abyss

Losing even, the ability to live, breathe and exist

(pause)

And these examples before us this morning,

Our brothers John and Amos

It’s no wonder that we shy away, as people of faith

From stirring anything that trips the light prophetic

Because who of us can compare our Faith to theirs,

Especially facing Death?

They leaned into the restorative power of the Light of God!

They stood against the artificial shadows

And piercing light

Of glistening, menacing temples built for humanity

For Kings

(pause)

John and Amos were like most prophets

Many whom we could speak into this space

They were not popular

Not welcomed

Not wanted

(pause)

John was that aggravating reminder to Herod

That the sacred space of forgiveness

And repentance

And Love

Was accessible and open

To those who had searched

To those who had no status

To those who truly did not have to rely

On the tangible, fault-filled

Whims of humanity

 “Show us your steadfast love, O Lord

And grant us your salvation”

John the Baptist’s presence

Pointed to the way that God’s beloved children

Should follow

To obedience

To submission

To the feet of the Son of Man, Jesus Christ

Where we hear the Psalmist lament,

Restore us again, O God of our salvation

And put away your indignation toward us.”

(pause)

Amos’s visions that he freely shared with the people of God

Shook them from their places of slumber

Their forgetfulness

Their haughtiness

They were God’s chosen people

No one could stand in their way of progress

And dominance

God loved them, right?

“I will never again pass them by,” says the Lord

But God’s people had strayed from the plumb line

God’s people were guilty of breaking their contract with God

They had strayed from worshiping Yahweh

And Yahweh alone

They had failed in the obligation to provide

For those among them

Whose lives should have been held holy

As God held them holy.

(pause)

And when Amos freely shared his vision

Of God’s Wrath

You only I have known…

Therefore I will punish you,

For all your iniquities”

Amos was threatened with exile, with deportation

“Flee away to the land of Judah, earn your bread there,

Prophesy there.”

Amos was treading on dangerous,

Treacherous, treasonous ground

That his spreading of Good News

In this form of tough love

Was not so readily received

By those who knew that all of their status

Titles, and stature

They did not stumble upon it

By their own control

(pause)

Amos cried out to all who would hear him

For this says the Lord, to the house of Israel,

Seek me, and live”

John cried out in the wilderness

Prepare the way of the Lord,

Make his path straight”

What prophets are speaking to you right now?

What prophetic Word is stirring in your spirit?

Do you know that you have the POWER

TO SPEAK LIFE

Even when Misery comes,

Even when Heartache comes

Even when Death comes

There is always the Good News

Jesus Christ, the Son of Man

Cries out to the depths of our hearts now

Proclaiming

That God will never leave God’s People

When we step out on Faith,

And speak God’s Word

When we stand in the blinding Light of God

Even if we are ridiculed,

Even if people think we sound ridiculous

Even if people shun us

Mock us

Cast us out…

It is because of the transformative POWER OF THE CROSS

The moment of giving up of His LIFE

There was NEW LIFE

A NEW COVENANT

A NEW OUTCOME

No matter how the world tries to shut us down

There is nothing that can shut up

The Restorative and Resurrecting Power

Of God’s Word!

(pause)

I thought it was interesting that when I first came

To Redeemer,

I saw the signs in your parking lot

“Enter Worship”

“Depart in Service”

We come as community

As brothers and sisters in Christ

Fed, renewed at the Table

Where all are welcomed.

As you depart this place

Hear the word of God

Echoing through Amos

As you pass that sign

“Go, prophesy to my people.”

Thanks Be to God.

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