I read this book recently by Beni Johnson called The Happy Intercessor. For those of you unfamiliar to the term, and intercessor is someone who prays for other people. Quietly, usually. Usually on her own time, without those people knowing about it. It's not real flashy and kind of, dare I say, obvious.
I often think of myself as an intercessor because, um, I'm not anything else? I'm kind of constrained by these kiddos and right now I don't have any other power for God other than sitting quietly a few times a week and praying for other people. Sometimes those prayers have real exciting results. Sometimes they don't. At any rate, it's better than TV.
But that's not what I'm thinking about today. In this book Beni writes about prophetic acts as mater or course for the intercessor. Things like pouring oil on things, sticking swords in things, whatever. Weird shit that sounds like a waste of time. Somehow, writes Beni (who doesn't herself use the term "weird shit") these acts shift something in the spiritual realm so that months after she went somewhere and threw a sword in the ground there is profound reconciliation in the politics of the city.
She's not making this up out of whole cloth. The prophets did this kind of thing all the time. With God leading, they walked around naked or married prostitutes or ate poop cakes to demonstrate to Israel something God was trying to say. (Ugh, should I site sources here? I'm so lazy and my bible is all the way over there. Let's just say if you're curious leave a comment and I'll find the real verses.)
I have been thinking about prophetic acts in regards to my big dreams. Living in a way that's sustainable for the environment. Leaning lightly on money. Teaching my children to have power in God. You know, stuff that's pretty much impossible.
I had just finished Beni's book when I was walking the dog and kids on the bike path connector in Bedford. And, like, there's trash everywhere. Seriously, I don't understand why littering is still a problem. Are people like, "Oh, I just can't make it to that trash-can 20 yards away. I know, I'll just throw plastic bag filled with food wrappers on the ground."? WTF? Anyway, it's impossible for me to pick up all the trash on that path; it'd take like two hours and a big trash bag. But I had a little bag for the dog's poop, so I said to myself, "I'm just going to pick up these few pieces of trash around me right here. It won't make a dent in the problem, but I'm going to do it as a prophetic act to say MY WORLD IS NOT MADE OF TRASH!"
And you know what? When I picked up those ten wrappers I felt like something WAS moved in the spiritual realm. Someone cares. Someone says this path, this town, this world isn't trash.
Now. There are bigger problems that I think about vis a vis the environment. Bigger than litter. And I can think of big solutions for my family and for the world. But as much as I might like to right now, I can't move to an island. I live here in the suburbs and since I can't do big moves I feel like now is the time to act small-ly and prophetically. And watch the rest of the world follow. (Or, you know, be burned in hellfire... I don't want to paint an unfairly rosy or picture... that wouldn't be very biblical.)
I wrote to Jo in an email recently that I want to be somehow "prophetically anti-capitalist." She immediately started using the phrase to make fun of me, which is pretty fair. Still, Dan just started an awesome farm stand that's the most prophetically anti-capitalist thing I've ever seen, so I'm hoping he'll share tat with you soon. Also, Jo stole this whole idea from me for her blog post today, which you're welcome to read. Especially if you're sick of my incredibly vague references to the bible.