All faiths speak in some form or another of transformation. The language of course varies – enlightenment, rebirth, conversion, regeneration. That being said, the concept remains the same and that is of a faith that presents itself as a way to give birth to something new.
And that transformation is hard; not something we slide into but more something that we are dragged through some days willingly, other days not. God’s Word as it speaks to us in its various forms often then comes from a prophetic place, a place as Walter Breugamann phrased of “fearless truth telling and fierce hope.” And it needs to have that fearless and fierce voice because silences are hard to break.
I have struggled all week with preaching this Sunday. The issue is over one simple event. Several months ago I read of the USS New York’s return to New York City and it’s cruise past the cite of the World Trade Centers. The USS New York was cast with 75 tons of steel from the fallen towers in its bow. Personally that is a hard silence to break. For a reader, that statement may make no sense – “So What.” But for me there is something deeply disturbing about taking a catastrophic event and memorializing it in the form of a warship. My understanding of God has a hard time justifying it. That is not to say I am right and those who differ are wrong. The opposite may well be true. It is to admit that speaking to that topic is a silence that is hard to break for me, preferring to leave the topic unaddressed rather than risk offense. And there are many such topics.
That silence stems no doubt from my self centered concern to be safe and liked and comfortable. That concern in turn feeds the very numbness I am so adamant about preaching against. And the goal is NOT to speak in such a way that preaching becomes a political soapbox but to preach in such a way that the conversation is had, that the numbness is addressed.
God can only enter a humble heart. And He can only enter a heart that is fearless and fierce, one in which numbness has been pierced through. We all need to get there, transformed, a place beyond “agenda” and a place where God’s words in Isaiah ring true in their prophetic fullness, “Come let us reason together.”