A Prophet in our Midst
The other day I had to introduce the reading from the minor prophet, Joel. I began by saying that we are all minor prophets by reason of our anointing with the Spirit at baptism, but what is a prophet? A prophet may be said to be like “a voice crying out in the wilderness” (Matthew 3:3), someone who seems to come from nowhere. He has no official status.
A prophet is not sent by a king or by a high priest. A prophet is sent by God to speak truth to power – to kings and priests.
We tend to think of prophets as figures from the biblical past, though occasionally someone like Martin Luther King, Jr. rises up to remind us that prophecy is still alive.
Just the day before, I had listened on Facebook to Greta Thunberg’s TED Talk from Stockholm in 2018 (in flawless English), and it struck me that this tiny teen-aged girl, apparently coming out of nowhere (she had recently crossed the Atlantic on a solar powered sailboat) is in fact not just a minor prophet but a major prophet, someone sent by God to speak truth to power, to the nations – to the United Nations!
I thought of Isaiah 11:6, “… and a little child shall lead them …”, and I thought of all the thousands of children Greta has since inspired to confront those in power, demanding that they address the climate crisis with all its looming consequences and act now before it’s too late.
Greta Thunberg is indeed a prophet, a prophet calling not for hope but for action. When people asked John the Baptist what they should do, he told them in no uncertain terms what they should do (Luke 3:10-14). Greta is telling us in no uncertain terms what we should do. Listen to her. Listen to her talks on Facebook, and then act