A Joyful Path, Year Three – Week 12: Every One Of Us Is A Prophet — Story: I Have To Do Something!

For Classroom or Home School

Week 12: Autumn

Lesson 10: Every one of us is a Prophet

The prophet inside me speaks truth to power!

Getting to the Heart of the Lesson

As humans living our most full life, we are invited to experience the entire continuum of divine connectivity. We are called to be prophets, people who seek truth, speak truth and embody truth through our actions. And we are called to be mystics, people who have the capacity to fall in love with beauty, mystery, and compassion. While all of us may experience both of these things, many of us feel a certain familiarity with one of them, more than the other. In Lessons 17 and 18, we will explore ourselves as both Mystics and Prophets by honoring the lives of two individuals who have given a great deal of thought to both.

In this week’s lesson, we will be learning about what it means to be a prophet through the eyes of contemporary theologian (both a prophet and mystic), Matthew Fox. A writer and teacher, Fox has written 37 books that have been translated into other languages more than 70 times. He has contributed to the rediscovery of pre-modern mystics and prophets like Hildegard of Bingen, Meister Eckhart and Thomas Aquinas, as well as modern prophets like the late Reverend Howard Thurman. If you want to learn more about modern prophets, you might enjoy this interview. (https:// sojo.net/media/what-does-it-mean-be-prophetic- today)

For the Curious: more about Matthew Fox

Fox is a spiritual theologian, an Episcopal priest and an activist for gender justice and eco-justice. Fox holds a doctorate in the history and theology of spirituality from the Institut Catholique de Paris. Fox lives his vocation exercising his prophetic voice. When he was as a Dominican friar, he was publicly silenced by the then Pope for his “radical teachings” on feminism, LGBTQ issues and eco-justice. Fox founded the University of Creation Spirituality in California, and is the recipient of the Abbey Courage of Conscience Peace Award (other recipients being the Dalai Lama, Mother Teresa, Ernesto Cardenal and Rosa Parks), the Gandhi King Ikeda Award, the Tikkun National Ethics Award and others. You may enjoy reading an interview with Fox talking more about the Mystic and Prophet here.

Here is a quote from Matthew Fox about being prophets in today’s world (1), “We can take inspiration from the people who have gone before us: Jesus and Martin Luther King Jr. and Hildegard of Bingen and Nelson Mandela and Dorothy Day and Gandhi and countless others. We don’t need to put them on a pedestal; we need to adopt them as templates for our own lives. That way our activism will come from a deep place that is ultimately about a love for life. That, too, is what sustains me: knowing that, whatever the outcome, I have stood with those who love life.”

Teacher Reflection

Some reading and a 10-20 min exercise (more if you have time and wish to take it) so you are able to experience the teachings offered through this lesson)

The spiritual affirmation this week, “There is a prophet inside of me ready to speak truth to power!” invites us to think about the beings or the causes we dearly love…and want to protect. Lesson 17 gave us a chance to celebrate ourselves as Mystics, as lovers of life, beauty, and mystery. In this lesson, we will discover ourselves as Prophets. Our prophetic self is a warrior and a defender.

The political climate in the United States often uses words like, “resist” or “persist.” Rabbi Abraham Heschel described the major activity of the prophet to be “interference” -creating interruptions that stop or block wrong actions. All of these words describe the work of today’s activists. A spiritual tool for the prophet that sometimes gets overlooked, however, is imagination. Contemporary theologian Walter Brueggeman says it this way,

The prophet engages in futuring fantasy. The prophet does not ask if the vision can be implemented, for questions of implementation are of no consequence until the vision can be imagined. The imagination must come before the implementation. Our culture is competent to implement almost anything and to imagine almost nothing. The same royal consciousness that makes it possible to implement anything and everything is the one that shrinks imagination because imagination is a danger. Thus every totalitarian regime is frightened of the artist. It is the vocation of the prophet to keep alive the ministry of imagination, to keep on conjuring and proposing futures alternative to the single one the king wants to urge as the only thinkable one.

We are living in a time when “the king” is an economy that does not consider the interdependency of all beings, all life. If the Mystic’s spiritual tool is Love and Wonder, the Prophet’s spiritual tool is Imagination and RE-imagination! Young people are closely connected to their imaginations and it is our task, as their mentors, to encourage this instinct! The story for this lesson is through the eyes of Dominique, a girl in New Orleans who finds her prophetic voice.

This short video (https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=b4xR7FsYCTw) features young people recognizing how, through art and their imaginations, they can act prophetically. This lesson is about supporting young people to give voice to the Prophet within.

In preparation to teach this lesson, take some time this week to journal/reflect on the way you show up as a Prophet in your life and community. Who or what do you cherish, defend and protect? Who or what would you like to cherish, defend and protect? Is there a particular cause calling your spiritual warrior to action? Begin with your imagination. What do you hope were true in your community? Is there a way that creativity, art, music, community embodiment can further your hope? Reflect freely, without censoring yourself.

Read through the lesson before your time with the children. Decide which Activity Exploration will work best for your class (There are usually two options; choose one.) Just below the heading, “Children’s Lesson and Story” you will find the preparations checklist for this lesson so you can collect any needed materials or make arrangements to support your selected activity.

Sacred Text Quotes

Hebrew Scriptures. Amos 5:24 (NRSV)

Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.

Hebrew Scriptures. Jeremiah 1:6-10 (NRSV)

“Alas, Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.” But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord. Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I have put my words in your mouth. See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.”

Christian Scriptures. Matthew 7:12 (NRSV)
In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets.

Islam. Hadith (2) of Tirmidhi

The most excellent jihad is the uttering of truth in the presence of an unjust ruler.

Wisdom Quotes

I believe Jesus calls on us all to be mystics – that is, lovers of God, of creation, and of each other – but also to be prophets or warriors, people who defend what we cherish. The mystics are also prophets when they disturb the peace. It’s part of the tradition. Jesus got into trouble; Meister Eckhart got into trouble; Hildegard got into trouble; Martin Luther King, Jr. got into trouble…. The mystic in us is the lover. The mystic says yes. But the prophet in us is the warrior, and the warrior says, “No, this is unjust. No, this is suffering that we can work to relieve.” That’s the rhythm of the mystic and the prophet, the lover and the warrior. It’s not enough to be one or the other. …This moment in history calls for a dance between the two.

― Matthew Fox

To be a Christian is to live dangerously, honestly, freely — to step in the name of love as if you may land on nothing, yet to keep on stepping because the something that sustains you no empire can give you and no empire can take away.

― Cornel West

In other words, the prophets are weirdos. More than anyone else in Scripture, they remind us that those odd ducks shouting from the margins of society may see things more clearly than the political and religious leaders with the inside track. We ignore them at our own peril.

― Rachel Held Evans

Who are the prophets? They are a royal people, who penetrate mystery and see with the spirit’s eyes. In illuminating darkness, they speak out. (3) ― Hildegard of Bingen

Be sure to click here to download the Teaching Introduction and Instructions.

Review & Commentary