Working to change.
The Lord GOD has given me a well-trained tongue, that I might know how to speak to the weary a word that will rouse them.
Throughout Lent we have focused on the change and reform necessary in our lives. We delved into the Lenten disciplines of fasting, sacrifice (or giving), study, and prayer. There is one discipline left – proclamation.
If we have taken these disciplines seriously, we should each be seeing change in our lives, or at least more clearly hear the call to conversion, change and reform. By now we should be walking each day as more ardent and faithful livers of Jesus’s gospel way. Sins like anger, resentment, and their like should be more foreign to us.
Of all the disciplines of Lent, proclamation may be the hardest to achieve. We can take time to fast, sacrifice or give a little more, study, pray. Most of that we can do on our own, almost stealthy, unseen to the outside world, but proclamation – everyone sees that.
Proclamation is very important to me personally. Let me tell you about that.
I often wonder if people think I am a little off, maybe not quite aware of what’s going on. Perhaps I do not see reality? They see me often thanking and congratulating people for what they might consider insignificant or even something the people I am thanking should just do – you know it is their job…
There are reasons for that. Most of my early life was marked by ongoing encounters with two kinds of people, those who recognized kindness and those who could not find a good thing in a basket of gold. Two types of proclaimers modeled. Who would I be?
Our first reading from Isaiah 50 points to Jesus Whose whole life was proclamation. He came speaking the Good News. It was His constant message. He showed us the kingdom. He told people – and tells us – what we have to do, repent and believe in the gospel.
Isaiah says in Chapter 52: How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation.
The beauty of Jesus’ proclamation was that there was nothing in His entire being – including every trial, wound, scourge, humiliation, thorn, nail, lack of breath, and curse heaped on Him that was not Him speaking out about our value before God. His death on the cross was proclamation of that value.
If we want to bear Christ’s name in honesty and integrity, we must be proclaimers of the kingdom. We must proclaim good news, peace, happiness,and salvation. We have to let people know, and in the end let people hear the change and reform Jesus caused in us. Could we rather nitpick, focus on the one mistake someone made, or criticize even the smallest gift shared? Sure. But then, what kind of proclaimer are we?