Pastor's Corner: Don't bring me bad news

Monday, July 23, 2012

Despite the double negatives, this title about says it all for us. The phrase, "Don't bring me no bad news" is actually a song from the Broadway show, "The Wiz" (a soulful retelling of the "Wizard of Oz"). This last weekend, many of the churches of our tradition heard the Bible stories about how the prophets Amos and John the Baptist got themselves in trouble by telling the truth. Amos was a farmer by trade, and God had set the message upon his heart to go to the chief shrine of the nation and shout "change or perish". The domesticated, professional prophets did not approve of that message, nor did the king. What Amos spoke was no less than treason: death in battle for the King and exile for the nation.

What about ole' John the Baptist? John confronted the King in his day for taking his own brother's wife. That earned him the queen's eternal hatred...and a death sentence with his head on a platter. It is particularly dangerous to confront the mighty, but don't we have a problem, too, when we hear a word of confrontation?; a word of correction?

We have a lot of things on our national, state, and local agendas that need mending. We need smart, knowledgeable, and able people to do that mending. If we are always defensive about our own positions, or on the offensive about the other person's suggestions, we find our whole enterprise falling apart. The old style word, "repent" meant to "turn around" "go a new way". That can only happen when we can hear a word of critique as well as a word of encouragement. Prophets seldom profit, but we are bound to hear them. Somewhere in there is the truth!