This morning, I preached God's word to God's people from God's text in God's house.
I did it only by God's grace.
I know it was only by God's grace because I am getting to appreciate again the insurmountable barriers each one of those moves demands. They are insurmountable by any human measure; still, the homily goes out and God condescends to act through it.
By any human measure, the level of noise which disturbs the transmission of any heavenly word to any human ear (to say nothing of heart, mind, soul, or the rest of the body) would make any reasonable person not only doubt that such a thing is possible, but likely stand back and respond like Bill Cosby's Noah, "Yeah, right!"
First off, there is the Biblical Event itself - this concern begins with narratives from the history sections of the Bible. The Old Testament history, the Gospels, and Acts are all given from God's point of view. The details we want to be there often aren't and the questions we want answered are left hanging. Instead of providing a complete account as we would imagine it, God shares what saves.
Gospel writer, John, freely admits that he hasn't written everything down, but has written down what promotes faith, hope, and love in Jesus, the Christ, the Son of God. (John 20:31) So we know from the start that we don't have everything that happened, but we are promised that we have everything that we need for God's purpose.
So the biblical event in history contains details that are not given in the text, now what are we to do with that? We can judge that the text is worthless, because it is obviously not a complete record. On the other hand, we can judge that the details we have been given are the ones that matter. Even more to the point, they are the details that matter not just for me, but that there is actually something in this book for everyone. (This is something to keep in mind when we read something we don't understand)
So I am totally dependent on God's grace for the text I read to begin working on my sermon.
Thank God for the text.
In later posts in this series, I will take up
- the author
- the audience
- the Pastor as hearer and reader in his own culture
- the contemporary hearer, and
- the worship setting
Biblical Event <noise> Author <noise> Author's Ideal Hearer <noise> Pastor <noise> Contemporary Hearer <noise> Worship Context