prophets awake exhausted from their dreams.
their beds soaked in sweat.
with the ebbing fever of their visions still ringing in their ears,
they arise each morning in love anew with our broken world.
while we, fearing the wounded, the other, the lost,
make the sign of the Cross and send the world away in the collection plate.
blessed are the prophets' eyes for they see and their ears for they hear:
those in love. those crushed by debt. by earthquakes.
those with child. those with enough. the wedding banquet.
the killing fields.
they taste the sweetness and the sweet bitterness of this life.
they see the glory in the least of things. they hear the poor,
no matter how loudly the pharisees might rage.
they see the oppressed, no matter how well
their ghettos are hidden.
in the thin space between heartbeats, between the threads of the veil of the temple,
between the last breath and the dying, here is where prophets harvest their words.
yet, when they feed the starving, we call them deluded.
when they bear witness, we call them liars.
what they taste and declare to be sweet, we spit out as poison.
little honor is there for prophets,
and I am not a prophet. but if I were I might speak these words to you:
"why are you here?"
I might say to you: "did God cradle you in your mother's womb
just so you could be born and repent of your sins?"
I might say to you: "did He give you life just so you could have
your demons cast out?"
If I were a prophet, I might say to you:
"In this perfectly broken world, you must see
that which strives to be hidden,
hear those voices others would deny,
taste the bitterness of the forgotten,
and yet love all of it without exception,
as if your life depended on it -
because it does."
- r. russeth