The words of prophets nudge – sometimes even shove – us from our comfort zones. When the Apostle Paul, in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24, advises us to take it on the chin, he also gives us an out: “Test everything, hold fast to what is good; abstain from every form of evil.”
That is, listen to the words of the prophets without dismissing them out of hand, but use wise discernment in weighing them. And let the spirit of God expressed through the witness of Jesus Christ through the community that follows Christ’s way be a guide. Further, the context is this: always rejoicing, praying without ceasing, and giving thanks in all circumstances.
Around fifty Australian church leaders from across the whole Christian spectrum took the opportunity to test this passage last Wednesday, International Human Rights Day, as they publicly protested and endured arrest on behalf of asylum seeker babies bound for Nauru under new legislation enacted by Federal Parliament..