walter brueggemann says that the role of the prophet is two fold - to evoke grief and create amazement. grief for what has been lost, and amazement for the new worlds that are possible.
over the last two grace evenings we have explored the prophet's story. i have enjoyed it (especially as i wasn't involved in planning!). both service outlines are in the grace archive - prophet story part 1 and prophet story part 2. i have been thinking about prophets recently and found steve's two reflections (inspired by walter brueggemann whose books on prophetic and hopeful imagination are simply brilliant) on grief (scroll down page and see intro under accepting the call) and hope from god very good indeed. here's a couple of snippets...
the job of the prophet is not to announce fixes for the current system
it's not to make realistic proposals
realistic, of course, meaning - leaving the powers that be in power
we can leave those proposals to the prophets of the royal consciousness,
the ones who say that there's peace when there is no peace
the job of the true prophet is to announce the death of the current order
the job of the true prophet is to announce that god cannot be bought by the regime
and has the freedom to bring about endings
the true prophet calls us to grief
grief for what must end and for our part in it
grief is the most radical criticism...
and on hope...
we can be guilty of spreading optimism rather than hope
optimism says that the world that we know can get better
hope is about a new world
true hope is grounded in god
who is outside all our human worlds and free to act and change them
this is where a prophet is not like a hero
a hero acts
a prophet points to god who will act
the prophet reminds us that there is an alternative
because god can bring it about
the prophet talks not just about the future but about the past
reminding us of how god acted before
reminding us of god's promises given in the past and waiting to be fulfilled
reminding us of god's freedom as demonstrated in the history of god's people
reminding us of god's covenant with us
which the powers that be would like us to forget about