26 July 2016
At our baptism, we’re anointed with Holy Oil to share in Christ’s work as Priest, Prophet, and King. Being a prophet of the Lord has its up sides and its down sides.
On the up side, being a prophet means having some vision of what we can be; what we’re made to be. We should have in our mind’s eye some image of the perfect holy city, the New Jerusalem; the perfect community of worshippers of God. In other words, “heaven” is what we should have in mind as our goal. And it’s a supreme to have that image before us.
On the down side, though, having that image in our mind also makes us realize how far we are from it. When the Prophet Jeremiah weeps and laments over Jerusalem, he does it out of sadness “over her incurable wound.” And the “incurable wound” within us is, of course, sin and the effects of sin.
Many parents and grandparents are troubled because their own children and grandchildren have no faith. Or they’re not interested in church or morals . . . they’re not interested in the image of heaven; they’re not interested in God’s vision for them. And those parents and grandparents weep like Jeremiah because they see that things aren’t how they should be. That’s the price of being a prophet of the Lord.
It’s a price that every good priest has to pay as well. He lets God put into his mind’s eye an image of what can be. And it’s a mix of joy and heartache that he experiences until the people of God are what and whom God has made them to be. But we—all of us—gladly accept the heartache—the weeping, the worrying, the concern—because the up side is worth it. Heaven is worth it. Moving our family, our loved ones, our friends along the path of holiness is worth the pain.
And, with that in mind, remember too that others are trying to be a prophet of the Lord to us. Others weep for us, because we have that “incurable wound” as well. We aren’t yet whom God has made us to be. Others weep for us; and we should weep for ourselves—not in self-pity, but in simple sadness that we let the cloud of sin blot out the glory of God in our lives.
We pray as the psalmist prays today: “For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.” Deliver us from our sins, from our hardened hearts. Deliver us, Lord, from our incurable wound. Make us all to “shine like the sun in the Kingdom of our Father.”