Many years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said he heard the voice of Jesus tell him to stand up for the cause of civil rights. This week a television personality ascribed mental illness to anyone who thinks Jesus talks to His followers. Everyone has an opinion.
The word Jesus gave to Dr. King was so powerful that it changed our culture because it changed our hearts. Dr. King’s life and his mission were empowered by a word from Jesus that declared all people are created equal and should be treated with honor. In this moment of our national history, we need a word from the Lord incarnated in brave people who are willing to rise up and speak the truth in love.
Have you noticed after every traumatic event where unspeakable pain and suffering occur, the same solutions are offered, but no meaningful change takes place? People have come to think the solutions offered in the public square are the only way forward. They look at the buffet of opinion and pick a favorite entree and begin to mouth it along with the other frustrated voices, believer, and non-believer alike. While there may be some validity in each opinion, none of these solutions have created the traction needed for real change to take place. We have become an entrenched culture. In some cases, the Church itself lives in the same entrenchment. It is seen by many as intellectually sophomoric to think the answer to our problems could be as simple as a change of heart. Dr. King brought change to our culture because the word he carried and eloquently released changed our hearts.
In many ways, the prophetic voice of the Church has been robbed of its influence by special interest groups, not only in culture but also by special interest groups inside the Church. The emerging prophetic voices that will offer a culture-shifting change of heart will not resemble parrots uttering the same message as the surrounding culture trapped in frustration and dismay. They will be like John the Baptist crying out from a wilderness place offering something new. They will declare a message so powerful in its hope and promise they would be willing leave the confines of their personal Jerusalem and experience one of the greatest of all miracles – a change of heart.