I am not used to thinking of Amos and Micah when I think of deacons! But there's that phrase right in the CRCNA form that "charges" the deacons: "Be prophetic critics of the waste, injustice, and selfishness in our society...." AND, "be sensitive counselors to the victims of such evils..." "Let your lives be above reproach." An amazing echo of Micah 6:8 - all three dimensions of the life of Jesus people.
Now, frankly, I've just not grown up expecting prophetic utterances from deacons! I know there are many congregations in which the deacons are an energizing force for new involvement and service in the community and in the world, but my hunch is that they are the exceptions. We need to hear those stories; we need to tell them - a lot. And learn from them.
But it vexes me that deacons often aren't kingdom change agents in the CRCs I hear about. And not so much in my own church either. Why is that, I wonder.
Could it be that the magic bullet is to be found in the "charge to the congregation"? Do I need to stop looking at the deacons for a minute and look inward? These are the words I hear every single time new deacons and elders are appointed to council: "I charge you, people of God, to receive these office bearers as Christ's gift to the church...."
Prophetic critics are a gift to the church? A prophetic critic is a gift to me? God help me to hold them in honor, take their counsel seriously, and respond to them with obedience and respect....
Sounds like holy orders. Oh yes, right, the new monasticism.... right here in my own congregation.