When I began seminary, one of my professors said that we should be a “prophetic people” and that one of our goals should be to “preach prophetically” with every sermon.
I won’t lie to you, that terrified me.
Maybe it’s because I was born and raised in Appalachia. When people speak of prophets they are referring to a certain brand of preacher or evangelist. I had this vision of a red-faced man, pacing the floor, shouting at the congregation who shouts back.
I knew I would never be that kind of preacher.
I’m an introvert who is completely comfortable with silence. I can get passionate, but my delivery is always going to be softer than any of those Appalachian prophets I had heard tale of. I appreciated the ritual of high liturgy and the moments of uninterrupted silence in which I could pray and meditate.
My experience was that prophets disrupted the silence with fiery sermons and prayers. I didn’t think I could ever be a prophet.
Of course, I learned that it is true that prophets disrupt the silence.
Except the silence they are disrupting isn’t so much the reflective silence of prayer and worship, but the silence of our complacency. In places where we let our faith fall silent, injustice happens and prophets are tasked with pulling us out of that place and into a place where we can do works of justice and mercy.
I later learned that in one way or another, we are all called to be prophetic.
We are called to be prophetic with our lives, our actions, our words, our deeds, and our worship.
But before we begin to panic, thinking we can’t be a Daniel or an Isaiah, we should hear the words of the messenger speaking to John:
The witness of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.Rev. 19:10
Every chance we have to live and act like Jesus, every moment we become Jesus’ hands and feet in this world, we are living into the spirit of prophecy. We don’t need to be a Daniel, an Isaiah, or even an Appalachian prophet. We need only be the person God so lovingly created, whom Jesus sought to save, and to lean into that identity with all our weight.
When we let our lives become a witness to Jesus, we become prophetic in everything we do.
How have you lived prophetically? In what ways is God calling you to be prophetic? Does prophetic speaking/living cause you anxiety? What are the places of silence and injustice in this world where you should live in the spirit of prophecy?