Saturday, June 25, 2005

Söderblom on Prophets

The prophets heard in history the voice of God and discerned the will of God therein.

The singing of the congregation in church makes an impression, maybe a powerful impression, and creates an atmosphere, but you are not able to catch what is being sung. The singing is loud, but it is impossible to distinguish the words.

So it is with the music of life and the course of history. We hear, but we cannot catch the meaning, however we exert ourselves.

In church we suddenly notice a plainly articulated passage. There sits some one singing who is able to pronounce his words plainly. You hear the words and you can find out what verse it is that they are singing. You catch the meaning of the hymn or song. Such an one is the prophet. Through him events speak more clearly to us. He is himself a tool for God's creative work.

Nathan Söderblom, The Living God. Oxford University Press: London (1933) p. 309.

Söderblom was the Archbishop of Uppsala; he was an important figure in comparative religious study in the first part of the twentieth century, one of the most important figures in Swedish Lutheranism, and a major force behind the ecumenical Life and Work Movement. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1930. The Living God is his Gifford Lectures for 1931. He was scheduled for another year of lectures, but he died before he could deliver it.

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