The gathering storm

The prophetic voice that has our attention at the moment is the Weather Channel (sic) as we prepare and await the coming winter storm with up to ¾” of ice.  The milk and bread run is already visible. Many scheduled events, Christmas Tree lightings, Christmas Parade, Concerts etc are being rescheduled.  Conversation at lunch today was about generators, some are natural gas powered, and just turn on, others have been in storage for years and there are questions about their status, some are new out of the box – though at least one of those did not work. There are even the forward looking folks pondering Monday when the second wave of winter weather sweeps across the land.

And I know there will be those who do not listen. I’m sort of one as I don’t see the radar projections indicating our town in the way of rain, sleet or ice.  And so I wonder why some people ignore a prophetic voice; why some listen but, at least as judged by their actions, do not hear; and why others really hear the prophet’s voice and change what they are doing? I especially wonder about folks who know better, like me, I’ve been through one of these ice debacles before, don’t pay closer attention. I wonder about the Sadducees and Pharisees, they should know what John is up to, because they are educated to know, because it is a part of their vision to know; nonetheless some, at least those approaching John, don’t get it. I’d love to know why.

But what I’d really love to know, is what prophetic voice I’m not getting and why, so that I can follow John’s advice and change my ways, not so such for my benefit, but in order to honor God, in Jesus the Christ.

One wonders about the rest of the story …

A blogger and colleague of mine quoted a scholar, I believe David Lose, who says there are two parts of the church year: the story of Jesus (Advent to Pentecost) and the story of the churches living into Jesus’ ministry (after Pentecost), at least that’s what I recall. Anyhow we are slap in the middle of the living into Jesus’ ministry time. And as tempting as it is to hear this week’s readings as an individual I am certain there are enormous lessons for the Church (the body of Christ) and the church (the institution, what ever variation you are affiliated with).

 Jeremiah hears God’s call, hears God tell him: go where I send you, say what I tell you to say, do not be afraid. And yes, you will have to pluck up, pull down, destroy and overthrow; you will also build and plant.

 Hebrews Paul is very clearly saying, as hard as it is to hear, the choice is oh so very one sided, Jesus is the way over the top superior choice. But there is a choice, and there are consequences for your choice.

 My undergraduate degree is in Sociology, and though many years ago, I remember enough about statistics to prudently trust numbers. The numbers (declining metrics of all sorts) tell me, that for a long time, (and according to Diane Butler Bass, longer than we acknowledge) we have not listened to God, not gone where God is sending us, are not saying what God is telling us to say. We are holding onto what we hold dear, while we should be, if not plucking them up, or destroying them, at the very least, letting them go. The sad reality is the harder we hold on, the less able we are to plant and build awareness of the Kingdom of God on earth.

 Hebrews Paul would tell us “You are choosing poorly.” I would add that the consequences are weighing us down. We are now so bent over, we can not see the truth of the world around us; we can not even see the truth about ourselves.

 My greatest fear is that as congregations and congregational leaders continue to act out of a perception of scarcity, continue to act out of fear, we can not hear God in Jesus calling us. One wonders about the rest of the story …