What is a prophet? Can it be said that it is God who calls a person to the stage of history? And how may they who speak, and they who listen, discern the impulse to speak as not mere psychological stimulation, or egotism, but a movement worthy of the name of God?
Think about this. If making predictions is what God’s Word is all about, then human freedom is fake. But the prophets weren’t making predictions. They were making promises. You can bet your life on the difference.
At two o’clock today, over seven hundred people will gather here at Riverside Church to see the film “The Central Park 5.” This film proclaims release to the captives. It tells the terribly untold story of how in 1989, the City of New York—D.A., police, people, media, mayor, more—convicted five boys of a violent and bloody rape without any evidence except their own deceitfully forced confessions; and how, as grown men, the captives were released and finally exonerated in 2002
Don’t you feel the thrill of Ezekiel’s righteous anger, and feel it is as your own! “You eat the curds, clothe yourselves with the wool and slaughter the choice animals, but you do not take care of the flock; you do not bring back the strays.” The translation sounds out as plain politics. “You eat the curds” means you pay poverty wages to the poor and make a million off their backs. “You clothe yourselves with their wool” refers to the fine estates, the sumptuous feasts, the elegant clothes and the secure billions . . .
We close the series today thinking about racism. As a people, we can barely talk about it, yet it touches virtually everything that has gone wrong in America. The love of war; the love of power by and for the few; the hatred of what is different or foreign; the hatred of real education, real food, real wages, real medicine, real women, and so much more we have considered during these last four months . . .
Today, we are going to feel our way with America’s towering health care crisis. In this, we are certainly politically stuck, but we are jammed up in many other dimensions as well. Costs are out of control, our weight and our diets are out of control, fear of death and disability has control of us, for we have lost the courage of being humbly human; we want to live forever. To cap it off, unlike the rest of the industrialized world, many Americans refuse to consider health care a right, rather than a privilege . . .