Daily Office Readings for Saturday of Proper 18: Year 2
Morning, Psalm 55; Evening, Psalms 138 and 139:1to 17;
Job 38:1to17; Acts 15:22 to 35; and John 11:45 to 54
“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 the content of the message.
There is something very meaningful about hearing the word directly from human lips that we can see as well as hear. While I know that many 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 that, 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 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. Letters read out loud was 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.
As we pass on the Good News of the Gospel, let us also encourage those who listen to us to pray for Ukraine and Ethiopia.
As we listen to what the Spirit is saying to us, let us live to love, to serve, and to teach, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John