We are His Teachings:
Yarah–to teach, to point, to shoot, to aim someone towards the truth. Akin to archery. My mother’s family name came from this word for archers, and was probably their role back in the day in northern England, and Ireland. We are all yarahs in life. All of us teach something, we are arrows, shooting towards some basic truth in God about who He is. When Paul says that each of us is a poem (poesia in Ephesians 2:10), another aspect of this, is that each of us is one of God’s teachings, or homilies. At times, God preaches, other times He suggest. Each of us is a unique message from God, and are written in a specific style or tone of God.
He is writing an autobiography, and we are His chapters. How do we find the teachings we are? Well, what truths are we drawn to most about God. That’s a clue. Is it about His love for people? Is it about His mysteries and knowledge? Is it about His Own contemplations? Is it about expressing His Words? Is it a passion for His Word itself? What we are drawn to most is a keyhole into what we are.
Some of us are primarily teachers, others like to serve in other ways. But all of us are teachings of God, words He has put on the earth for such a time as this. Once, we turn over the texts of our lives to His redaction and version of who we are, we become living words spoken by His Spirit onto the earth. The Great Rabbi tells His Tale through us; and He emphasizes a unique aspect of His Father’s Being through each of us. That nuancing of His Own expression of Himself is history. The most overt Opera of His Being, incarnating as Jesus Christ. But as we enter His Life, we become part of this operatic expression of who The Father is.
God shoots us out as teachings from His Heart through His Mouth into this world, and we whirl as uniquely nuanced love poems, which are pronounced in the unique settings: stages, platforms or fields, He wants that particular song heard. Some, He sings to mountains, others valleys, some into urban settings, some from rooftops, some underwater, some into the animal kingdom, the political arena, some into old barn houses. God wants to sing us, and there are particular places He wants your song heard.
As we surrender our version of the teaching we are, to His, we are placed back into The Father’s Bosom and ready to be pronounced and placed properly on the earth as His Own Proclamation about Himself. His Son enabled us to enter this re-positioned place in God; and by extension and through the Breath of the Holy Spirit allows us to progressively become that teaching and poem we were meant to be; and to have the satisfaction of placement in the exact locations He has prepared beforehand that we might be broadcasted.
Some of us have not surrendered our version of the song we are to God. Others, do not have the faith that His creation of us was an intentional and cared for expression of Himself; and in this way, is less about us, and more about Him. Still others, see what teachings of God they carry, but because of woundedness, still need that as their source of acceptance or validation. Why would The Father of the Universe not validate a song about Himself? And through His Son and His Work on the Cross, He has! We are now free to let God sing the Song of Himself through our lives, to become His Teachings about Himself so all can see and know and love their Creator.
Another way of looking at this, is through the lens of God’s Oneness or unity. If He is one, and we are His words, through His Son-The Word; then for Him to pray or prophecy through us, is basically, from our point of view, Him speaking directly through us. Using our bodies and souls and personalities as an envelope for His letter to all of His Creation.
As cultural prophetic people, we are allowing Him to speak through our whole selves into whatever aspect of culture He wants to enter, and heal or make whole. The prophet then is the one who has turned over his or her whole being to become this living word of God. But, it is not enough just to overhear God’s words. we must incarnate His entire orientation towards the other, He is ministering HImself into! We are to embody to the degree we can, His whole message with our whole selves. This is a prophetic orientation towards ministering His words, as His words! We, in fact, become God’s word, as He speaks through our entire being towards those He is prophesying to. Daniel was a prophet like this–a cultural prophet. God spoke him into Babylon and beyond, using his fixed gaze to channel His Visions and messages for all of humanity. It is significant, that Daniel was repeatedly willing to be killed or burned etc; for it is symbolic of the total surrender to the messages of God He was being given. The cultural prophet, is to be wholly given over to expressing the full or whole message of God. This prophetic orientation in order to embody more of the message, is in fact the task of the prophet. You see this in John the Baptist as well, who in the end, has his head cut off.
This is the whole of one’s life- being a message or symbol, a teaching of something God is expressing. Jeremiah moved in this way, as did Saint Paul. Where they could say, with David, that my entire life has become a sign or portent.
We sometimes, get overwhelmed by other’s styles with God. Like with Daniel, we may not be used to the language of dream and vision; but Daniel’s spirituality reveals something about who God is. It is worth studying other’s spiritualities even as we are coming to know our own authentic spirituality. Our relationship with God has a unique type of discourse, and so do others. We can learn to read the teachings of others, even if their language of dialogue with God is very different from our own. Ezekiel’s spirituality for instance, is quite ecstatic at times, and even frenzied. Not all of us are comfortable with ecstatic mystical exchange with God. But Ezekiel was, as was Elijah. So we can read their lives as teachings about parts of God which we may not be as familiar with!
Some prophets in scripture highlight the symbolic dialogue they have with God. In this way, someone like Ezekiel, lives a symbolic life. Even where he is when writing matters–by a river in between babylon and home etc. It’s also good to note, the primary language of exchange of each prophet’s personal spirituality For instance, in Daniel, we are often overhearing his personal spirituality with God. They exchanged in symbolic language mostly, and then God would interpret it, often through angels. Daniel’s primary language like John, the writer of Revelation was symbolic. So you have in Daniel 2, then in chapter 7 two symbolic ways of expressing a similar message or map of history. Again, because God is One, His words are connected to image, and all levels of meaning. His messages are undivided, and reflect back on an undivided God. So when we are hearing a word from God, we can look around and also find an image, sight, sound etc. His messages are one.
This is practical to know, if you are offering a “word” to others for instance. If you hear a word towards them, you can also enter God’s feelings, imagery and even sounds which are connected to this communication to that other person. One can go in and surf the layers of meaning as a way of getting to know this God who is communicating to someone. In this way, prophetic ministry becomes a way of getting to know God, which really is the point of all ministry. It is not just about helping others, in the end it is about coming to know and love more of God and His Ways. That, to me, is the point of ministry. It’s also the proper heart orientation in order to get deeper words or understanding. If we are motivated just by helping others, or getting some validation for ourselves through ministry, we fall short of the point of ministry. So, as we are becoming His teachings, we are really learners of God. Constantly, through our service, coming to know more Him more profoundly.
Practical: as an addition to your current spirituality, ask God to tell you what type of teaching each person you meet is. What do they teach about who God is? This also applies to cities and nations. If we see the world as an expression of who God is, we are free to ask Him to reveal to us what each single thing reveals about who He is! Then all that we relate to, becomes a living meditation on who God is, and a way of coming to know and love more of God. This practice also helps us orient towards people and places with more of His orientation. It offers us true empathy, as we know that God is there trying to express something about Himself through them. And we are meeting Him there! For instance, if we don’t personally like a certain city, ask Him to reveal what He is trying to express or teach through that city’s identity about Himself! It really helps. Or if we don’t like cities at all-then ask God to meet you through a city, so you can learn more about why God allowed cities to form, and what He is saying about Himself through them. For we all, both offer His Teachings, and are becoming His teachings!
Also, the next time you get a “word” for someone, ask The Holy Spirit to also give you an image or sound which goes with it. Practice allowing God to be One, and communicate from more of Himself! In this way, we also give more rounded or fuller words. As Andrew Murray taught-try to accept the “whole Christ”. And then try to offer more of Him as we minister to others. We want to be fuller expressions of God. I think this is why so many of the prophets wrote in prose, poetry, didactic verse, autobiography, history etc. They employed a diversity of genres to express the complexity and wholeness of their God!
An afterthought about how making art relates to God’s Oneness:
Often, i feel when making art, we are mirroring God’s desire to be One, and to make whole communications–where image, sound, word, thought, emotion all touch in the right relationship. When they do-ie when it is good art- we are actually offering a picture of how God is! And how we are made in His Image. I think this relates to why art making is healing (or whole making).
When making a video for instance, the elements are narrative, imagery, sound. They need to meet or touch in a way which is true to the content, and somehow, true to one another. It is as if the elements are in better alignment with one another for a moment–that’s when a piece really “sings”, or has that something, which we recognize as great art. It is the same in prophecy–the medium should reveal the message-ie the elements of expression should be in the right alignment to one another to express the message God wants to express!
The very act of trying to make art, or trying to prophecy, implies this desire for things to come together and make one whole expression. Like Ballet Russe–dance, image, sound, words; film and opera also. Art making itself is a symbol , which is true and satisfying! We try to experience and express Oneness–or the proper relationship between all the elements; unity with diverse elements.
So again, when God speaks, He also images, sounds, dances, does choreography, spoken word, installation art etc. All the art mediums are connected in Him; for He is One. His messages are unified as well–ie there is the right relationship and connection between all the elements involved. We feel satisfied when our art even comes close to this alignment! I would call this aesthetic satisfaction at mirroring something in the Divine Nature!
This is why, even with photos, i feel that naming matters. I want the right word, with the right image to express the fullness of meaning more nuanced. If you paint, try adding words, try adding movement or sound. See how they emerge and dialogue–see how they converse. In doing so, you are mirroring and getting to know and appreciate who God is! I suppose this would be the purpose of making art in the end-to get to know and therefore love more of who God is!
So it is not just that we make art to glorify God, but that the very act of making art, mirrors and teaches something about who He is, and by extension, who we are as being in His Image! This gives us permission to create, in this sense, for its own sake. In this sense, creating itself can be a medium through which to come to know and love God. The “product” may and hopefully will also honor Him, but the process itself reveals aspects of who He is as well. For the very desire to make things whole and bring together a unified expression reveals something about His Nature.