Monday, 15 June 2009

ours is a seduced world

God of all truth, we give thanks for your faithful utterance of reality.

In your truthfulness, you have called the world ‘very good.’

In your truthfulness, you have promised,

‘I have loved you with an everlasting love.’

In your truthfulness, you have assured,

‘This is my beloved Son.’

In your truthfulness, you have voiced, ‘Fear not, I am with you.’

In your truthfulness, you have guaranteed that

‘Nothing shall separate us from your love

in Jesus Christ.’

It is your truthfulness that we love.

And yet, we live in a world phoney down deep

in which we participate at a slant.

Ours is a seduced world,

where we call evil good and good evil,

where we put darkness for light and light for darkness,

where we call bitter sweet and sweet bitter (Isa 5:20),

where we call war peace and peace war,

so that we rarely see the truth of the matter.

Give us courage to depart the pretend world of euphemism,

to call things by their right name,

to use things for their right use,

to love our neighbour as you love us.

Overwhelm our fearful need to distort,

that we may fall back into your truth-telling about us,

that we may be tellers of truth and practitioners of truth.

We pray in the name of the One whom you have filled

with ‘grace and truth.’ Amen.

Walter Brueggemann: On reading Jeremiah 23 / October 29, 2001

imageDB[1]In The Prophetic Imagination Walter Brueggemann declares:

‘the task of prophetic ministry is to nurture, nourish, and evoke a consciousness and perception alternative to the consciousness and perception of the dominant culture around us’.

Brueggemann explores the patterns of prophecy in the Old Testament in order to inspire and challenge the church to engage in such ministry today. The teacher is also the practitioner and this prayer from Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth is a powerful example of Brueggemann’s prophetic sensitivity to contemporary culture. There is beauty and goodness in our culture, though one would be hard pressed to recognise this from the picture mediated to us through the press and broadcast industry. Yet, there is also a sense that we live in an age where we no longer know what is true and what is false and where public policy and private judgement are dictated by what is perceived to be popular and what we can get away with.

Brueggemann calls us to re-orientate ourselves and our society around the One who is truth, the One who can be trusted. The prayer suggests that our flight to the ‘pretend world of euphemism’ is driven by fear and fear does seem to be a dominant feature of our culture. Politicians react to the agenda set by the media, guided by the Daily Mail test rather than by conviction and increasingly terrified of rejection. The press, pandering to the cynicism of a public which they have engendered, publish what they think sells; driven by the need to maintain or increase circulation figures in an era of diminishing returns. Broadcasters abandon the calling to produce what informs, educates and entertains, for fear that viewers and listeners will abandon what does not offer instant gratification.

Ours is a Seduced World is a prophetic call to hear the truth about ourselves and so be released to speak and embody truth, not in a spirit of judgementalism but in the conviction that ‘the truth shall set you free’.

1 comment:

pbriggsiam said...

I was doing a search on this poem by Walter Brueggemann and happened across your blog. Thank you for your post.

I'm a on and off again seminarian at Fuller Seminary in Pasadena, CA. My day job is as an IT professional but this stuff feeds me...and reminds me that someday I will leave IT behind for a new calling.