Our first lesson today from the prophet Ezekiel reminds us of the role of prophecy within the Jewish community, but also a role that continued on among Christians. Jesus was a prophet; John the Baptist was a prophet. The disciples were called to be prophets. Most of us probably do not think of ourselves as prophets. Even the role of the prophet that Ezekiel speaks about — comparing the prophet to a watchman for Israel — that has no relevance for us with our super-sophisticated radar systems, our U-2 planes that oversee the Earth at all the time.
We can hardly envision someone standing on a hill watching for an army to invade and then to call out a warning. But that’s what Ezekiel proclaims as the role of the prophet: to speak for God on behalf of the people. And in Ezekiel’s time, it would be like a watchman looking out for how evil might be creeping into the community, coming in in maybe not so noticeable ways, and the prophet speaks for God and alerts the community.
Now again, most of us probably don’t think of ourselves as prophets. And yet, if we would go back to our baptism and the ritual that was performed when we became disciples of Jesus through baptism, we would understand that every one of us, every baptized person, is called to be a prophet. During the ceremony, if you go back and look at our ritual and remind yourself of this, at some point, the minister — well, after the actual pouring of the water, it comes where the minister then anoints the person with holy chrism….