“Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God.” –Isaiah 40: 1
“What’s really going to bake your noodle later on is, would you still have broken it if I hadn’t said anything?” –The Oracle, The Matrix
All of the prophets articulated in various fashions: The day is coming…the day of redemption, the day of justice, the day of reconciliation, of restoration, of joy, of love, of hope, of peace….that day IS GUARANTEED…it’s on the way, as sure as an Amazon package with 2 Day Delivery…expect it anytime.
This is how prophets get mixed up with Fortune Tellers. As my beloved professor of Hebrew Bible, Rev. Greg Mobley has said (I paraphrase here): Prophecy is not about seeing forward, but seeing through. We call them prophets, not because they knew exactly what was come to pass, but because they SPOKE and ACTED and BELIEVED as if all the good stuff they could God doing had already happened. “The day will surely come,” they said.
This is the part of being a person of faith that I think fewer and fewer people get. Especially in 2014 America, especially given the binary argument that seems to control faith conversations…as if there’s “for” or “against,” and the “for” people are mindless and the “against” people are the only rational ones. To be a person of faith is to believe in extraordinary things…it is to believe in things that have never been seen or “proven” upon the earth…it is to believe in illogical and unexplainable miracles….AND…it means living our lives as if the things we believe in are REAL to everybody.
Before Marriage Equality was sweeping the nation, we had faith communities across the country affirming that everyone deserves to be loved, and we started marrying people of all genders and sexual orientations in our sanctuaries regardless of what the state recognized as “legal.” Before slavery was declared an inhuman institution and disposed of, there were people of faith that declared, “No one can OWN a human being, EVERYONE is a beloved and equal part of God’s creation!” Before women were seen as equal members of society and allowed to pursue any career they wanted, or even VOTE, the church declared, “God speaks to you just as much as God would speak to any man,” and women were ordained into ministry.
Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. (for some reason we are often allowed–encouraged maybe?–to forget that Martin Luther King Jr. was an ordained minister) claimed, “The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.” In other words: It’s inevitable…in a sense, it’s already happened…our universe is ultimately just…our God is ultimately loving…those who act justly and love kindly and walk humbly are already on the “winning” team. The rest of the world just hasn’t caught up yet.
However, anyone who believes such a thing should stop to ask: Has the future been set….or does the world actually require people to speak of the not yet as if it were already true in order to get there in the first place?
Let your voice be heard. Proclaim what you know to be true and right. Speak to apathetic and sleepy people, tell them what to wake up for and why they should celebrate. And while you do that…be comforted by the knowledge that God is on our side. Though we know not the day nor the hour…surely the Day of the LORD is at hand…if not here already.