Andrew R. Jones
One tradition of many Christian congregations is for the congregation to shake hands with the minister(s) after a worship service. For many, this two to ten-second interaction is about the only one-on-one time they have with their minister during the week. Some take advantage of it by starting a conversation. Others say "Good morning" and move the line along.
One member at my vicarage church has uttered the same line to me for the past 48 weeks: "Thanks for bringing God's Word to us." I respond politely with something like, "Thanks for being here to receive it."
Over the past two weeks, this same church member taken more time to explain his reason for thanking me. You see, he can't see. Macular degeneration has taken away his ability to read. The written word of God is no longer available to him on his own terms. He needs an intermediary.
Thanks be to God that God's Word comes in various forms. God's Word is read and shared orally. In our congregation we have three (sometimes four) readings from the Bible. There is a sermon preached by the pastor (or myself) which proclaims God's Word to the hearers in the congregation. There is also absolution, the pronouncement of God's Word of forgiveness to those same hearers in the congregation. And there is the sacramental Word, the Body and Blood of Christ given and shed for the forgiveness of sins.
God Word, in its various forms, is delivered to this man in worship. And despite his inability to see, God's Word endures. God's Word does not pass away.
So remember, as you grow in years and eventually your senses begin to fade, that God's Word is living and active and it can be delivered to you—to your eyes, to your ears, and even to your tongue.
Andrew R. Jones served in ministry for seven years on three continents before attending Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. He is a member of Concordia Lutheran Church in South Saint Paul, Minnesota.
Created: July 25th, 2016