The Offering of a New Song

The Offering of a New Song

Vanderbilt University Divinity School has long styled itself as a School of the Prophets, a Schola Prophetarum. I think this is a marvelously apropos metaphor for a place that seeks to equip people for a still-unfolding world. Prophets are the jazz artists of religion. Priests are like well-rehearsed choirs singing the same music beautifully the same way each performance. The prophets, on the other hand sometimes sing the wailing lament of justice denied. Sometimes they toss off a lighter tune of joy in being alive. Sometimes they sing the blues of how hard it is to persevere in the faith. And sometimes they sing the ecstatic shout of hope achieved. No matter the mood of the religious jazz the prophets sing, they always offer a new song that extends the received tradition so that the word needed now is offered.