A prophet's calling is to speak honestly and openly about the probable consequences of contemporary events. Whether it involves personal actions or public priorities, acknowledging the prophetic witness allows us to engage with the world and hear instead God's vision of what it ought to be. Along these lines, the 58th Chapter of Isaiah reminds us that if we "satisfy the needs of the oppressed," then "light will rise in the darkness," and in turn lead us to "do away with the yoke of oppression."
The prophetic words of Isaiah remind us that although faith is personal, it is by no means private. It has a public bearing surrounding matters of justice and the pursuit of common ground for the common good. In the words of Cornel West, "Justice is love on legs, spilling over into the public sphere." And so, in response to the amazing grace bestowed upon us by God in Jesus, we serve as present-day prophets in ways that are life-giving and life-freeing, so that our communities of faith are not only concerned with life after death, but also life after birth.
Gracious God, as you continue to offer freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, help us to be your prophets, and remind us that justice is what love looks like in public. Amen.
Isaiah 58:9b-14 (NRSV)
9b "If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.
11 The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.
12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.
13 "If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath and from doing as you please on my holy day, if you call the Sabbath a delight and the LORD's holy day honorable, and if you honor it by not going your own way and not doing as you please or speaking idle words,
14 then you will find your joy in the LORD, and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob." The mouth of the LORD has spoken.