The prophets of doom and gloom are those who are surprised by the repeats of history – reality intruding into the fantasy of permanence – and whose hopes are limited to the recovery of what got them into the anxiety in the first place. Security is not to be found in such fantasy, but in living now in the light of the future, having learned from and built upon the past.
Such prophets of doom look for macro solutions to our big economic problems. They are right to do so because big problems probably need big solutions in ways that non-economists like me don’t begin to understand. But we can’t leave it all to the politicians and the money men.
Today I did the address at my godson’s wedding. I have been the worst godfather in history, but Matt and Julia Veira did more than get hitched this afternoon: they performed a prophetic act of hope. They denied the naysayers and doom mongers and invested in a future they can’t secure. This has always been the vocation of God’s people: to declare that the last word has not been spoken, that the conversation continues, that (in Brueggemann’s words) there is ‘newness after loss’.
Marriage is public (not a merely private matter), profound (it takes us deep into our human glory and frailty, courageously exposing us to the other), and prophetic (it promises a future and commits to it, come what may). It confounds those who assume or proclaim that happiness is the sum of a range of securities (financial, material or proprietorial) and quietly celebrates the promise of ‘newness’.
Christian marriage is always prophetic. It believes in a God who never leaves the last word to the empires or the loudest, most powerful voices. It is no surprise that the first place Jesus went in his public ministry (according to John’s Gospel) was a wedding.
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