Daily Office Readings for Saturday of Proper 18: Year 2
“We have decided unanimously to choose representatives and send them to you, along with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, who have risked their lives for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who themselves will tell you the same things by word of mouth.” (Acts 15: 25 to 27)
So four disciples (Barnabas, Paul, Silas and Judas (also called Barsabbas) went to Antioch to give “word of mouth” testimony about how the believers should behave. I am as much concerned about method as I am content of the message.
I am required to preach now while wearing a mask. I don’t like it. But I am loyal to the instruction of my Bishop. Perhaps preaching through a mask is one step above sending a note or letter, or for that matter, social media. There is something very human about hearing the word directly from lips that we can see as well as hear. While I know that hearing challenged people rely on reading lips, I think we all do a little of the same as a way of affirming what we think we hear. It is word of mouth. It is the ancient way of spreading the Gospel. Remember, in the beginning was the Word, not the book or the print.
Many times in the Bible we are directed to “Hear O Israel.” Most notably these words appear in the Deuteronomy 6:4. This directive entails the receiving and retelling of our dedication to God and it is done by word of mouth. This instruction to hear is found throughout the Bible and is meant to be read aloud in the hearing of the people.
Read letters were the way our forbearers received the Gospel and the letters of Peter, Paul, John, James and the preacher to the Hebrews. We are a word of mouth people. This word of mouth is spoken through us, the saints of God. So when the opportunity presents itself, and it will, be a speaker of the Good News of the Gospel, that “We are all loved by God and there is always hope, no matter what.” First, listen to yourself say these words, and then deliver them to someone else by word of mouth.
Let us hear what the Spirit is saying to and through the saints of God and then ponder anew what the Almighty can do. John