RHYTHM: No Thanks – Ezekiel 37

Easter 5 Ezekiel 37Monday before the 5th Sunday of Easter: Ezekiel 37:15-28

Reading: Ezekiel 37:15-28

“No Thanks,” said the Prophet

“I’m just becoming comfortable with the fact that I’m a prophet.” Uncomfortable silence ensues.

I don’t really remember the occasion, but I was playing a show at a church somewhere just outside of Atlanta. The speaker that night (yeah, it was the kind of show that has a sermon somewhere between bands) was a longtime friend of mine. We’ll call him “Lloyd.” Because that’s his name, and Lloyd is about as far as you can get from being an anonymous person. And here was Lloyd, acknowledging something inescapable.

Lloyd when I first met him was a local church youthworker. I was one of those multi-church kids, and Lloyd was my Wednesday morning and occasional Sunday night youth leader. He had the prophet bug even back then; he had an unusual knack for discerning and calling out the unrighteous living amongst those in his care, usually without warning or invitation. It was eerie. I’ve always flown pretty straight and narrow, but some of my friends were afraid to pick up the phone if they thought Lloyd might be on the other end.

The thing is, being a prophet sucks. Prophets have given themselves over completely to God. Prophets have to do and say weird things and make all kinds of people uncomfortable. Ala mashing sticks together in Ezekiel 37. Being around a prophet can suck, too. Especially if their message is for you.

We like to think we can name our prophets. A professor in college pointed out that for years people have called Billy Graham a prophet. Not so much, said this professor. He held that Billy Graham was a priest, not a prophet—the distinction being that a priest brings reminders of a message from God you’ve already heard and potentially accepted. A prophet brings a new message from God, generally one you’ve not heard and won’t be inclined to accept. A prophet, the professor contended, looked a lot less like Billy Graham and a lot more like the guy with the folding chair and handmade sign yelling at passerby next to Target.

It’s hard out there for a prophet.

For reflection:

What are the prophetic voices in your life? Not the ones that stir you to action—the ones that you’d prefer to avoid.

 

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