Become a Prophet!
Every once in a while, a minister will give a sermon that means something to you. I recall a sermon by Rev. Aaron Stockwell, around 2017 at the UUCBV, where he said that each of us can be a prophet.
There are many definitions for prophet -
- a person regarded as an inspired teacher or proclaimer of the will of God - “the Old Testament prophet, Jeremiah”
- a person giving new information or presenting things in a new way
- a person who predicts the future.
Another memorable sermon occurred on Sunday, July 19, 2020 with Rev. Chuck Freeman. Rev. Freeman has been in the ministry since 1977, serving the Church of Christ and now UU congregations, the founding minister of the Free Souls Church in Round Rock, Texas, a founding member of the Texas UU Justice Ministry and its Executive Director, the co-founder & organizer of Undoing Racism Round Rock working for systemic racial equity in the community, an active leader in Shut Down Hutto which is a sustained campaign to close the T. Don Hutto immigrant prison in Taylor, Texas, and the list goes on and on.
Rev. Freeman referred to the Haiku written by Mizut Masahid, a 17th century Japanese poet and samurai.
“Since my house burned down I now have a better view of the rising moon” ― Mizuta Masahide
He continued, “We can transform our structures, this charred, burned down house ... can be transformed with rising moon consciousness.”
Even during this time of social isolation with COVID-19, he prophetically continued, “... by having an open heart, we can live fully, joyfully, richly and meaningfully and inspire others to do the same, thereby building the kind of communities that thrive in good times and bad, that support children of all circumstance and abilities, that embrace the elderly and those in need.” As Unitarian Universalists he said, “... be spiritual to your DNA, ... don’t sit on the sidelines, don’t hide and look the other way ...” “We are people who change and transform society and transform systems for the good for all.”
Many of you know that the UUCBV recently joined the list of Reproductive Freedom Congregations in Texas. On July 20th, I attended the Facebook presentation - Conversations at the Edge of the Lege: SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the US), Abortion, Faith and Politics. Texas Representative Donna Howard stated that one of the best ways to prevent enacting bad, restrictive reproductive legislation in Texas, a state that is the leader in trying to abolish abortion rights, is to switch the Texas State House to ensure that the laws chipping away at women’s reproductive rights and freedoms do not get passed. Because Texas’ reproductive restrictions add economic hardships, predominantly to poor minority women (required waiting periods, ultrasounds, extended travel to clinics), this is a social justice issue. To change this, people of faith need to make sure more people vote.
So, how do we develop a strong UUCBV Ministry for Social Justice (not forgetting the environment) that is prophetic and can change our future? Rev. Freeman suggested making a list of all our accomplishments so far - continue your good works.
Our list: Tiny Hope Village, BV Food Bank, Hope’s Locker, Citizens’ Climate Lobby, Habitat for Humanity, Brazos Interfaith Immigration Network, TZ UU Justice Ministry, Family Promise BCS, Neighbors in Need Grant, Community Foundation Grant, Pride Community Center, NAACP, Green Tip of the Week, UUWF BLM Reading List, Puerto Rico Emergency Fund, Katrina Emergency Fund (BVFB), JustTX.org and others.
Now this all comes together for me. I think what Rev. Aaron meant when he said that we could and should all be prophets is that we should speak and act as our heart tells us to do, and then, as prophets, we can predict and change the future. We need to get organized and mobilized so that, “Together as people of faith and good heart and good will, we will bend Texas and America to justice ” - Rev. Chuck Freeman.
Will you be a prophet?