A guide, counselor, friend. A spiritual shepherd you comes alongside others to comfort, nurture, and encourage. A pastor is who you want when the wheels come off your life. A pastor is the one to remind you “though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we will fear no evil.”
I am often called on to serve a priest.
Performing the religious rites and rituals of our faith. As priest, I baptize and marry. As priest I consecrate and officiate. I preside over our celebration of Eucharist/Communion. A priest represents the traditions and bears the symbols of religious life.
I have never been called on, at least not by those I have served, as prophet.
No surprises here. Jesus said, “no prophet is accepted in his/her hometown”. (Luke 4:24)
Mostly it has to do with the function of a prophet. Prophets are called by God. They are given a message to share with the people. Generally, definitely the case in scripture, the message is for the people to repent. It goes something like this…
God loves the people and the people love God.
God loves the people and the people start thinking God is a bit demanding.
God loves the people and the people start loving themselves.
God loves the people and the people act as if they have never known God.
God loves the people and invites them back into relationship by sending them a prophet.
At this point we have mixed reviews. Sometimes the people listen, sometimes they continue to live estranged from God. In either case, no one is hoping a prophet comes to town. No one is putting out signs “Opening for Prophet. Inquire Within.”
In my experience not much has changed. We want pastors. We want priests. Prophets? Not so much. After all, prophets bring change. Prophets upset the status quo. Prophets ask us to look at the dark places inside ourselves and point us to examine our failings and faults. Not easy. Not fun. Rarely (never?) comforting. Often (always?) challenging.
I may not be called on to serve as prophet, but we (that means me, too) still need a “Word from the LORD”. (my point in the vision post)
We still need this self-examination. This call back to God. We need wilderness time. We need Lent.
Listen carefully and we will again hear the prophets speak…love God, love neighbor.
Isaiah. Jeremiah. Amos. et. al. “Love God. Love Neighbor.” That was their message.
It’s still the message. Take it from me. Pastor. Priest. Prophet?
Life is better together,