The call to be be prophetic is to recognise the spaces which are opening up in the darkness, to step into that space and to respond with healing and love, writes CRA President Sister Ruth Durick osu.
Being prophetic is not something we sit around a table and decide to do as an achievable goal, or have as a Key Performance Indicator for the next 12 months or so.
Being prophetic is not a decision, it is a call.
During the days of our Assembly we were talking of this call to be prophetic.
I reflected that we were meeting in the southern part of our country in the midst of winter. It wasn’t lost on me that our last night was the longest night of the year, the night when we have the most hours of darkness in a 24 hour period.
Darkness in our culture, both our Australian culture and our church culture is often associated
• With negativity,
• With fear,
• Sometimes with terror.
We often find it easier to take on the Christian images of light, being associated with life and hope. After all, Jesus said ‘I am the light of the world’. Darkness however can be a time of purification, a place of intimate encounter.
Fr Chris Monaghan in his talk referred to the call of Samuel – a call which came in the darkness of waiting, in the emptiness of readiness. Jonah, also, was one for whom the darkness was a place of conversion.
We have been living through difficult times; Times of pain and suffering; Times which we might describe as dark times.
For some of us this has been deeper than for others. For some there has been a daily living through the suffering and pain of victims and survivors of abuse, of having to respond to further allegations, of trying to provide pastoral care for all those in different communities who have been affected by the ripples of the abuse.
We know that this is not going to finish in December. Perhaps it is just the beginning of a slow journey to become the true followers of Jesus living for the fullness of the Reign of God - and not for the preservation of an institution.
The darkness has its own invitation for us as it did for Samuel – it is a sign of the presence of God; it is the invitation to wait in the dark, in the emptiness –
• to hear,
• to search,
• to ponder,
• to discern together.
We have to believe the lord is with us no matter how long it takes.
So, is there a call to prophecy now?
Yes, it is a call not only to be in the darkness, but to recognise the spaces which are opening up.
I am reminded of the story from Luke’s and Matthew’s gospels of the unclean spirit which was cleansed from the person and which went out around the countryside looking for water and other sustenance. It didn’t find very much so decided to go back to check on its original host. Finding the space emptied, cleaned and vacant - it went then to find seven other spirits, buddies it had found on its journey, to come and join it in this newer, larger space.
We are at a time when the space is emerging – much is being cleansed – openings are occurring. We must not leave these spaces empty.
We are called now -
• To step into that space,
• To respond to the call to be prophetic,
• To witness to the gospel
• To fill the space with love, with healing, with action for:
A more inclusive church,
A church which responds to the marginalised,
Which invites the marginalised to the table of the lord, to the table of dialogue, to the table of decision making for the future.