Wednesday, 25 November 2009

The prophetic word of god honey or bitter bile?

On Wednesday evenings as the nights grow longer and we progress towards Christmas we are singing Holden evening prayer. It's a glorious, simple moment of pleasure, silence, song and music at the end of the day. Even if you have to live without it it's good to have the memory of singing it, restorative spirituality.
Tonight our readings were from Revelation 10 and Luke 18.18-30 (the story of the rich ruler, the camel and the eye of the needle). Tonight I am still reflecting on the themes of honey on the lips and bitterness in the stomach from the book of Revelation. What does it mean to eat the scroll of the prophetic word and for it to be as honey on the lips yet leaden and bitter in the stomach?
People listened in surprise yet recognition - it was quite a shock to have this passage read out. Yet at the end of the Western church year it was powerful to hear this text of contradiction and to reflect on how to speak truth to power, to the princes and rules of our time. Does a prophetic minstry taste first of all like honey yet turn to stone in the belly - giving us that sinking feeling?

Listening afterwards to story of the rich ruler was doubly powerful. What will we give up to follow Christ? What will we take on? The taste of honey and the bitter digestion of prophetic action?
Perhaps it is easier to not listen to the living word ...