Friday, October 5, 2018

James 1:19-21 Therefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath ... and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.


A while back there was an article in a preachers' magazine about the impact of modern communication methods on the church--methods like Facebook, Twitter, cell phones, and text-messaging.

Noting that people's attention spans these days have been reduced, the article went on to say: "Pity the poor pastor who has to try to convey the Word of God in mere words ... Little wonder Johnny (or his parents) become disenchanted with the pastor who can't neatly wrap up a problem, prescribe a proper pill or medicine or prayer that will solve it quickly and exit smiling, all in 28 seconds...."

Living in the era of sound-bites, instant replays, and on-site news reporting, should we now scrap the old-fashioned sermon? Before doing that, let's bear in heart and mind that the Bible has much good to say about preaching, and even warns against despising the Word of God and the preaching of it.

A favorite Mission Festival text among us includes the words of St. Paul: "How shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace..." (Romans 10:14f).

In our high-tech day God's Word can be communicated in many different ways. However it is "heard"--via computer, smartphone, sitting in the pew, or some other way, those are blessed who pay close attention, listen, learn, and believe what God is saying.

That's what James has been saying to us in these devotions. That's what the Lord Jesus was getting at when, to those listening to His parables, He said: "He that has ears to hear, let him hear."

Lord, open Thou my heart to hear
And through Thy Word to me draw near;
Let me Thy Word e'er pure retain,
Let me Thy child and heir remain.

Thy Word doth deeply move the heart,
Thy Word doth perfect health impart,
Thy Word my soul with joy doth bless,
Thy Word brings peace and happiness.
(The Lutheran Hymnal, 5:1-2)