Monday, 24 August 2015

Prophetic Voices - 3

“If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the TRUTH will make you free.” John 8:32
(In response to Pilot's interrogation) Jesus answered … "For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the TRUTH. Everyone who is of the truth hears My VOICE.”
Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?” John. 18:37     


When asked in all sincerity, this is the question above all others. The dictionary defines the word truth in this way:
(1) :  the state of being the case :  FACT – it is what it is
(2) :  the body of real things, events, and facts : ACTUALITY – it does what it was           meant to do
(3) :  a transcendent fundamental or spiritual reality - heaven, angels, soul

We can say in truth that the universe exists - that the universe unfolds in an orderly way (that it conforms to a design). For Pilot, understanding the working of the universe, as it was known in his time, was a work in progress, together with understanding the meaning of life within this universe. Those were important questions then (as they continue to be in every age). The theories put forward were many.

Pilot may have been familiar with the Greek philosophers like Plato and Aristotle and their approach to truth. He would know well the dynamics of politics and its subjective application of principles for justice and truth. The proliferation of religions and their countless deities were everywhere, all vying for the claim to the truth. So one can easily understand what formed Pilot's retort to Jesus, "Truth, what is truth?"

Questions of philosophy, politics and religion continue into our generation no less than in Pilots time. But now a new forum dominates the scene today - that of science and technology. New players have emerged laying claim to the truth, players such as the rationalists, the agnostics and the atheists. Since the atheists claim that there is no true God or gods, religion is dismissed outright from their quest for truth. The "fact" of the universe remains, true, but not by design since it was not created - there is no creator.

“If you continue in My word ...,

The voices of the rationalists, the agnostics and the atheists dominates the discussion now. The voices of religion and faith, which were once important influences in shaping our society, are now relegated to a corner set aside for myth and superstition. Religion is now replaced by secularism as the new path to truth.

Our history reminds us that whenever God's Truth is under attack, the Lord raises up the voices of His prophets to contend with the voices of untruth. In Paul's letter to the Romans we read:
How then shall they call on Him whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear apart from preaching? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it has been written: “How beautiful are the feet of those proclaiming good news of good things!” Rom. 10:14
So who are the prophets who's voices are to proclaim God's truth to our generation? We are - those in the Church who still hold on to the truth, entrusted to them from the Lord. This is the age of evangelization and we are all called to be evangelists. But how? Where do we begin?

In the Book of Kings, we read how in the time of Elijah the voices of the prophets were under attack and silenced by the sword. Elijah alone remained, having fled to a cave on the mountain. We read:
And the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”
At that moment, the LORD passed by. A great and mighty wind was tearing at the mountains and was shattering cliffs before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake there was a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire there was a voice, a soft whisper. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. 1 Kings 19:11
View from the Cave ... Needing to Hear
The Church has reminded us that our generation is starving for truth, and that our vocation now is Evangelization. Prophet/Evangelists must first have their hearts attuned to the Voice of the Lord, (.... a voice, a soft whisper...) This begins in prayer, personal prayer, in the pattern we have explored throughout these posts. Elijah's cave is now changed from a place of hiding to become a place of encounter. Personal prayer is a schooling in evangelization. How can they speak of Him who's voice they have never heard?
(the LORD was not in the wind ...the LORD was not in the earthquake ... the LORD was not in the fire) Earth, wind, and fire, may be likened to the tumult of arguments swirling around us, all claiming to have the truth. But the voice of the Lord is not to be found them. It begins in prayer, then connects with others who have likewise learn how to listen in prayer. They are the voices, “... of those proclaiming good news of good things!”

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