One of the things that amazes me these days is the wonderful wisdom that is so easily accessible. One source of wisdom that I have greatly appreciated is Richard Rohr's Daily Meditations. Todays mediation, below, is one of the reasons why I love his writing. If you want to sign up for his daily e-mails click here.
Historically, mysticism was often seen as the opposite of prophecy. There was the prophetic strain, which was working for social justice, making a difference, solving problems, fixing the world, and bringing about the Kingdom of God. Then there were these other “mystified” people who locked themselves in hermitages and didn’t care about the suffering of the world. Now we know that was a radical misunderstanding of both sides.
When we read the prophets, we see that without exception they talk about an intimate relationship with God that, itself, led to radical social critique. Jeremiah talks about a love that “seduces him and that lets him be seduced” (Jeremiah 20:7). The normal language of the prophets Amos and Hosea is an intimate language of divine encounter that always overspills into social concerns. It seems to blast their previous understanding of Judaism and temple worship, and puts them in competition and tension with the priestly class.
In the Jewish Scriptures, the priests are invariably competing with the prophets and the prophets are critiquing the priests, and this tells me it must be a necessary and creative tension. Maybe both sides get refined because of it. Today, in our church, we have mostly priestly concerns—or as Jeremiah put it, “the sanctuary, the sanctuary, the sanctuary” (Jeremiah 7:4)—and little concern for immigrants, health care for the poor, the acceptance of the marginalized, or even minimal peacemaking. The patterns never seem to change, since the “priests” control the home front and the “prophets” work at the edges.