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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Called to be a prophet

I am slowly moving through the book of Isaiah on my Advent journey. Christmas will come and the prophet and I will have walked only a short way toward the New Jerusalem. But that's okay; I'd rather enjoy his company on a long-distance walk than a run. In chapter six the voice of the Lord calls out, "Whom shall I send?" (to be a prophet to the nations). Isaiah has just confessed his sinfulness as a "man of unclean lips." He has seen the Lord of hosts, but recognizes his own unworthiness to speak the words of God. That's no problem for the Lord...He sends one of the seraphim "holding an ember which he had taken with tongs from the altar." The angel touches Isaiah's lips saying, "Your wickedness is removed, your sin purged." With that assurance, Isaiah can answer the Lord's question, "Whom shall I send," calling out "Here I am; send me!"

Every Christian is called to be a prophet in his own times. The prophet's role is to call people back to the Lord. He usually brings evil tidings that are unwelcome, not to discourage people, but to warn them and sound the alarm. Some evils are so obvious that it hardly takes a prophet to predict them, which is certainly the case with what I'm going to say now. I predict that in the next few years, likely before the end of Obama's first term, we will see both homosexual marriage and assisted suicide brought to us, not by popular vote, not by state legislatures, but exactly the same way we saw abortion forced upon us through Roe v. Wade...the courts will impose them. Both issues will be treated as civil rights undergirded by the same spurious principles that the Roe court found in the "penumbra" of the Constitution. Assisted suicide will likely be cast as a "privacy" issue like Roe using Griswold v. Connecticut which also legalized contraception. What I do with my body (contracept it, abort it, fornicate it, adulterate it, kill it) is up to me. I think the homosexual issue will be framed as equality. If heterosexual couples have a right to marry, adopt, etc. so do we. The natural law, the inability of two same-sex individuals to have a child will likely be turned upside down by cloning and other evil reproductive technologies. Until that happens, same-sex couples will play let's pretend as they "parent" children together.

Is there anything Christians can do to halt this from coming to pass? I don't know. When the Lord told Isaiah to warn the people about imminent evils, the prophet asked, "How long?" until the people would be healed. God's answer was not encouraging. "Until the cities are desolate, without inhabitants...and the earth is a desolate waste."

But the very next chapter of Isaiah offers the hope of the coming Messiah. The Lord sends Isaiah to the evil king Ahaz telling him to ask for a sign. Ahaz pretends piety (Oh how like a modern politician he is.) saying, "I will not tempt the Lord" by seeking a sign. God gives him one anyway. "The virgin will be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel."

Advent is a dark time, but one filled with the glowing twilight of the SON rising in the east, the morning star. It is a time to rededicate ourselves to the Lord's truth and to reform our lives through Confession and penance. The Lord is coming. He will not disappoint. He chastises us only because He loves us. Take heart and do not be afraid.

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