Prophet Killers

"He answered, 'Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father's house, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.'

"Abraham replied, 'They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.'

" 'No, father Abraham,' he said, 'but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.'

"He said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.' "

Luke 16:27-31

Jesus was a prophet. And in this parable, Jesus is setting himself up as greater than all the other prophets. Like all the other prophets before him, the people killed Jesus instead of listening to him. But unlike all the other prophets before him, Jesus would rise again, come back from the dead, prove that there is an afterlife, and STILL there are many who do not listen.

Being a prophet is not a fun job. Prophets tell people what they don't want to hear. So if you're a prophet, at best the people don't listen. At worst they kill you.

"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous. And you say, 'If we had lived in the days of our forefathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.' So you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of the sin of your forefathers!

"You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? Therefore I am sending you prophets and wise men and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town.

"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.

Matthew 23:29-34, 37

I think churches and pastors and ministry leaders kill prophets all the time. We don't like to work with prophets. We don't want them on our teams. Prophets are the "negative" ones that "bring everyone down". They're always asking tough questions, telling us we're making the wrong decisions, pointing out our faults, our shortcomings. Shouldn't they just humbly support us? We ARE the pastors after all! But NOOOO, they have to keep being negative and tell us everything we're doing wrong all the time...

So we kill them. We ostracize them. We sideline them. We refuse to work with them. We call them aside and have a "talk" with them about their "authority issues". In our hearts we want them to leave our church and go somewhere else. But we know its wrong to say that. So we just make it impossible for them to use their gifts and serve. Then after a while they go away and we forget about them. To us, they're dead. We killed them.

Who are the prophets in your life? Are you listening to them? Or are you killing them?

Ken Bussell
Minister of Music & Administration
Our Place Christian Church

>sent via blackberry

Emerging Worshiper

Passion Week

Last week was a very tiring week for me. At our church we do this thing called Passion Week where we have two gatherings a day for the 7 days leading up to Easter. The idea is that we journey together as a church through the last week of Jesus' earthly life. Sort of a take on Holy Week.

We rearranged our auditorium so that everyone could be seated in a circular fashion around a central station. And each day we set the station up to be different. So on Palm Sunday we set up the middle with a table covered with stones and palm leaves. And we covered the whole auditorium floor with palm leaves.

For Monday, we set up the center with a large dead tree to represent the withered fig tree. And we had lots of dried figs to hand out for people to taste. At the end of the gathering people were asked to come to the tree and break off a twig and take it with them outside to our parking lot where we had a fire set up. Then they threw their twigs in the fire, representing the unfruitful branches in their lives being pruned. All of this being based on Jesus' teachings during his last week on fruitfulness and his cursing the unfruitful fig tree.

For Tuesday we set up the center with a table turned on its side, and baskets and miscellaneous items strewn about as if the table had been "turned". We also took about $50 in pennies and spread them out all over the floor. This represented Jesus entering the temple and turning over the tables of the moneychangers.

Wednesday was a day of contemplations. So we set up the auditorium with many mirrors and gave each person a small craft mirror. We talked about how Jesus said to give to Ceasar what is Ceasar's, based on what image was on the coin. Then we said that we are bearers of God's image, and that we ought to do as Jesus said and give to God what is God's. And we used the mirrors to illustrate this point.

Thursday was the last supper and the serving of communion...

Friday, the crucifixion...

All of this was set in an atmosphere of darkness, of candles, and of contemplation. The music was very subdued, mostly a capella congregational singing of traditionals such as the Doxology and the Gloria Patri. There were congregational prayers and responsive readings. A prayer of confession. The Lord's prayer. Everything was done very liturgically, in an ancient high church fashion.

And each day a different tangible item was distributed for meditation and remembrance purposes. One day a strip of linen dipped in nard. Another day an iron nail dipped in red paint and placed in the palm of the hand. Another day a small stone to remind us of our duty to praise God...

And we did this every day at noon and at 7pm. It was fairly well attended, with close to 200+ people coming each day. It was a very powerful week, and very emotionally draining. Monday, the day after Easter, I was at home sick in bed most of the day. Today I am still stuffy and light headed!

But it is worth it to know what work God has done in the lives of people through this last week. I have heard over and over how it has helped bring people closer to the Lord during Easter season. How it opened their eyes and hearts to Jesus in a way they had not experienced before. That's awesome.

Ken Bussell
Minister of Music & Administration
Our Place Christian Church

>sent via blackberry