Last night, my wife and I watched Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer with our 6 year old daughter (not the seer daughter) and our 8 year old son. We watched the classic Burl Ives stop action version. It’s a classic ugly duckling story.
I’m going to apply a Jeremiah 1 prophetic interpretive filter to how this show can be instructive regarding seers and the Church. (By “the Church”, I mean the overall community of believers. By “church”, I mean a local assembly of believers). In Jeremiah 1, God used a couple of mundane things as a way to prophecy. In my book, I call this the “highlighted object” method of prophecy.
A prophecy is simply communicating God’s heart throb towards someone or something.
Last night, I felt God’s heart throb regarding seers while watching Rudolph. Was this from God? Or just my mind making connections? Maybe I just reinterpreted this fantasy through the Kingdom of God Mindset. That would make my interpretation a polemic.
(I also interpreted the movie Elf polemically, and it becomes a wonderful metaphor for the Gospel. See this post here.)
So anyway, whether this reinterpretation comes from me or from God, I’ll leave that up to you.
Rudolph and the North Pole: Seers and the Church
The beginning of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer provides a great example of how many seers in the Church feel.
Rudolph is born with a gift. The gift makes him different from other reindeer: his nose glows. His family hides it under a mask of mud.
His family wants him to participate in Santa’s important mission to bring toys to little boys and girls on Christmas. Everyone in the North Pole is expected to step into roles that further this aim. But over time, these roles became so fixed, the establishment could not fathom other roles might also be beneficial to the mission.
An elf must basically participate in toy making. No deviation is allowed by the hierarchy.
Reindeer are raised to help pull the sleigh through the air. Rudolph shows an early and astonishing ability to do this, but his special gift – the red nose that glowed – is revealed and frightens or disgusts the rest of the community -even the leadership! – who shun him from the community.
This is just like seers in many churches. Church leaders have expectations for how to further the mission of Christ, but when those with special talents, like seeing in the spirit realm, show up, leaders ostracize them. Seers – spiritually sensitive people who can see into the spirit realm from time to time – become misfits or outcasts.
Like Rudolph, they leave the community, sometimes with other misfits, but often alone, isolated from others.
Like Rudolph, the Enemy is attracted to their gift and hunts them down to devour them. For many seers, the enemy is successful. Others remain faithful, but in exile.
In the program, the Enemy is a physical monster; in real life, they are spiritual monsters.
Rudolph sometimes seems able to control the gift, but other times, it just shines on of its own accord. Just like seers.
This experience all too often characterizes the lives of Christian seers.
God’s Heart Throb For Seers
Now, comes the heart throb of God towards seers and the Church.
During Rudolph’s exile from the community, he develops an affinity with other misfits, a heart of justice for them, but comes to learn his place isn’t with the misfits. It’s to bring his gift back to the community, and reshape their hearts back towards misfits too.
Rudolph matures and decides to return to his family. The community still rejects him, and Santa actually sends him on an impossible mission. When Rudolph returns successful, Santa repents and accepts Rudolph back into the community, but still doesn’t see that his gift is useful.
A terrible storm threatens to defeat Santa’s mission: Santa and his reindeer won’t be able to see through the storm! The storm makes them blind to the hazards of flying. Without the ability to see, they can’t navigate to complete their mission.
Just then, Rudolph’s gift kicks on, fortuitously (as it’s called).
Suddenly, Santa recognizes Rudolph’s gift can help him see and safely navigate around the the dangers hidden by the storm, thus helping the mission succeed. Additionally, Rudolph influenced Santa to bring justice to the misfits, who also find a place in the mission.
We are still in Act 2
We’re not there yet. We aren’t in a time where the Church welcomes those who see in the spirit realm. Many leaders either don’t believe in the ability or don’t see a need to have seers in their community. It’s not much discussed or taught about. Christian seers don’t get much training.
But God is calling seers back into the community of believers. God is calling churches and leadership to embrace this gift.
The Body needs its eyes.
Times are changing. Quietly, churches across the spectrum of theology are beginning to recognize the value of having people who see in the spirit realm contribute to Christ’s mission.
Where are You?
Where are you in the story? Have you found a church home that welcomes you? Or even utilizes your gift? Are you in still in exile, being trained up in compassion and justice, arming to return for the battle against the enemy? Or do you have your gift hidden under a mask of mud?
Wherever you are, understand you have a place in God’s mission to bring his dynamic rule and reign to lives everywhere, to reveal the works of the enemy and of God!
Then… you’ll “go down in history!” (Kingdom history, that is).