In the reading for this Sunday, Jesus prepares his disciples to go out into the world to tell people about the Kingdom of God. Some of the disciples worry, though. What will they say to the people? What will the people think?
nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known.
A great force reveals truth to the world. Truth covered up, gets uncovered. Truth kept in secret, becomes known to all the world. This force cannot be stopped, like waves, endlessly rolling up on sand.
What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light;
It seems that God wants all the world to know truth, to know God's love and mercy. The force God sends into the world reveals, shines light on what is real, what is good, what is true. Truth cannot be covered up, it cannot remain secret. In time, what is hidden will be revealed.
what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops.
This sounds like Jesus wants the disciples to be prophets. We know that prophets sit so still, listen so carefully, that they hear God speaking. And what they hear, they tell all who will listen.
The disciples have listened to Jesus. They have followed him day after day, listening to him speak of the Kingdom of God. Now he asks them to tell what they have heard. He asks them to be prophets. They can feel the waves of Truth splashing at their feet, pulling at their ankles. It is time for them to speak the truth to a world that needs to hear the Good News.
When we are baptized and anointed with the oil that smells like heaven, the Oil of Chrism, the priest or deacon says,
remain as a member of Christ,
Priest, Prophet, and King, unto eternal life
Like the disciples, we are also asked to be prophets, to help God reveal what is buried. But we are not the same as the disciples. We do not walk with Jesus everyday listening to him.
And we are not the same as the prophets. We do not sit in stillness and hear God speaking.
We do listen to the Word of God. We do sit in stillness and think about it. Each time we do this, those words sink deeper within us. We listen. We hear. The Word of God buries inside us. And everything buried will one day be revealed.
But how will we know what to say? Are we supposed to memorize the Bible? Is there something to worry about here?
What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops.
God speaks to us in the dark—this is private prayer. In private God speaks, deep in our hearts, while we sit in stillness, listening.
God whispers to us. If someone whispers something to us, how close must they be? We must be very still, very silent, to hear God's whisper.
There is an order here, Jesus says. First God speaks, then we tell. God whispers, then we proclaim. We cannot proclaim what we have not first heard.
Then we will reveal to the world the hidden nature of God. But for now, we pray.