Monday, May 11, 2009

Monday Easter 5 - View from a Pew

... or Blessed are those who hear the Word of God... I thought of this verse in a different way yesterday as I sat on the other side of the pulpit God has given me. (I'm recovering from outpatient surgery to clear out my sinuses.)
You are not accidently going to hear the Word. God has to bless for you to hear it. First He has to send it from His mouth. Then, just as the Word made flesh was sent, He must send His apostles out. Lots of reasons for them to stop speaking from their own sinful flesh, and from the sinful world, which eventually stops their mouths with exectutions (see Monday of Easter 5's reading, especially verses 4-12. But the Word they preached continues to spread - like wildfire, or like a forward on the internet - until one day it gets to you.

But still the obstacles to you hearing His Word remain. Just the ones that came to mind yesterday:
+ Health - Your spirit is willing. But your flesh is susceptible to colds and flu, broken bones, hearing loss (we got a new sound system at one of my congregations during Holy Week. Still working the kinks out so that more people can hear.)
+ Kids - Babies are noisy. 2 year olds (and older) like interacting with Daddy and Mommy during the sermon ("Listen to the Pastor, Timothy." And, in all honesty, I only had to say that twice, and our babies and older two were very good during the service. All credit for that goes to my wife.)
Before anyone thinks I think the answer should be to take kids out of church, let me echo the words of one of my predecessors here: "I would rather have kids crying in church than screaming in Hell."
+ Cell Phones
+ Political Climate - not yet a problem here by the grace of God, but plenty of places around the world suffer from governments that outlaw Christianity (and other non-governmental groups that hold power over people through threats of violence)
+ The life history and current context of the person - Where is the person's heart right now? What sins have been committed against them and what have they committed? Is there some disagreement between them and the pastor? Did the listener get enough sleep last night? Did the pastor?
+ What can you come up with that gets in the way?

To survive this "obstacle course," you really do need to be blessed byGod to hear His Word. And you have been. And, as Isaiah 55 reminds, it will accomplish the purposes for which God sent it. For in the wisdom of God, He chose this "foolish" way to create and sanctify you - His people. His Church.

UPDATE - Pastor Weedon apparently is thinking along these lines today too. His New Lutheran Quote of the Day for today is, "Our basic spiritual problem is that we have bad hearing. -- John Kleinig, *Grace Upon Grace* p. 126"

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