Who are the Prophets?

In a world full of information who do we listen to? Where do we go for information and who do we trust? It’s a tough one.

We are entering a new phase of easing of restrictions. The pubs are opening and we can think about how we might start public worship again.  But are we listening to medical advice or political advice or economic advice? All will be saying different things and they are likely to contradict each other. Which one do we follow? If we all make a decision based on our own risk assessment what happens if lots of other people do the same thing and we end up with a situation that is fine with 10 but is dangerous with several thousand as this week’s decision to go to the beaches shows. It is all very complicated.

What we need are prophets who can see the future and guide us there.

The problem is that prophets in the sense of the prophets from the Bible were not people who saw the future. What they did was see what was really going on in their society and spoke about it. It didn’t always make them popular. Today we might call that speaking truth to power and it is as unpopular today as it was in ancient times. One of our modern prophets is a child, Greta Thunberg who has been on the receiving end of some utterly vile reporting and comments in the press and social media.

Perhaps our reactions to those who speak the truth shows us who the real prophets are. If we react badly might that show us that we are hearing something we don’t want to hear? Might we not want to hear that our way of living is causing climate change or that our way of behaving is damaging our neighbour? It is far easier to dismiss and denigrate the prophet than change our behaviour. They are wrong. We don’t have to listen and we can keep on living as we always have. No need to change.

Jesus’ message of love your neighbour as yourself is a hard one to put into practice. That neighbour may be someone who is different to us, from a different culture, different schooling or with a different worldview or religion. How much easier to look after just us and our family and ignore our neighour, our community and our world.

Maybe when making decisions we notice how we are feeling. Is this is comfortable decision? What is the uncomfortable one? Who benefits? Who loses out? Perhaps we need to listen to the uncomfortable prophets. What are the uncomfortable prophets calling for you to do in your life?