Listen
Wednesday of Easter 2
11 April 2018
God gives Himself to us by speaking to us. We have inklings of this in human affairs of love. For example, young people are sometimes attracted to one another quite suddenly, in what is called "love at first sight." However, only when they begin to disclose themselves to each other do they begin to test that love and cause it to blossom into reality. Every conversation discloses more about the beloved so that the lover knows the other thoroughly. A relationship built without that self-disclosure through the word and the faculty of speech is merely lust, a physical acquisition, not love at all. Only those who express love will find it. In expressing it they are giving it, even giving themselves and revealing themselves to the beloved. Love established on any other grounds is a sham. Speaking does it. Always speak your love into being.
 
God has created the whole universe with the faculty of speech, "And God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light" (Gn 1:3), saying and calling all things that exist into being. He has loved His creation into existence through saying it into life. This should give us a clue about the power of God's speaking. It confers what it says. It makes be what it speaks of. We Christians are forbidden to misuse God's name (Ex 20:7), because God has Himself spoken to reveal Himself to us and He expects us to use our God-given faculty of speech only to bless Him and never to curse (Jm 3:8-10). Even the utterance of curses presumes the power of speech to effect what it says. The potential for articulate speech is one of the characteristics that differentiates us humans from the animals (Dr. Doolittle not withstanding).
 
Most significantly of all, God is always speaking Himself into presence among us through His Word. The whole Bible is God's self-revelation in speech to His people. "I am the Lord Your God, who brought you up out of Egypt" (Ex 20:2). God never desires to be worshiped anonymously, that is, in His omnipresence. Is God everywhere? Of course. But He has not asked us to worship Him apart from recounting His speech to us. The saving God of the Bible is the God who speaks (Gn 16:13; 24:7). God is certainly on the golf course on Sunday, and He is often invoked there, but He has not asked to be honored in the cult of the little white ball. He has asked to be honored in the speaking of His Word. If we keep His Word, we will be fulfilling the First Commandment, that we should have no other gods (Ex 20:3). He will then offer us Himself in this speaking. As His beloved we shall receive Him in His loving speech to us. He grants us Himself and His grace in the divine Word of the gospel and its promises. Listen to Scripture and God will come to you.

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

   Martin Luther
"'He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake' (Ps 23:3). The name of God is the preaching of God, by which He is glorified and made known as the gracious, merciful, patient, truthful, and faithful one. Although we are the children of wrath (Eph 2:3) and are guilty unto eternal death, He forgives us all our sins and receives us as His children and heirs. That is His name, and that name He causes to be proclaimed through the Word. He wants to be known, glorified, and honored by these means; and, according to the First Commandment, He will also reveal Himself to us exactly as He has men preach about Him (Ex 20:5-6). Thus, without ceasing, He strengthens and restores our souls spiritually and keeps us from falling into error, and also feeds us bodily and wards off all misfortune.
 
"But only those who cling to His Word, and who believe and confess boldly that all the gifts and possessions of body and soul that they own, they have received from God purely out of grace and kindness, that is, solely for His name's sake and not because of their own deeds and merits, only they give Him the honor of being exactly as we have just been told. They thank Him for His blessings and also proclaim these blessings to others. No proud saints, such as heretics and schismatic spirits or enemies and blasphemers of the Word of God, can give Him this honor, for they glorify not His name but their own." 

 Martin Luther, Psalm 23, 23.3
Genesis 1:1-13

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day. And God said, "Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters." And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so. And God called the expanse Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day. And God said, "Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear." And it was so. God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good. And God said, "Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth." And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the third day. (ESV)
Prayer
Lord God, heavenly Father, although we are the children of wrath and are guilty unto eternal death, You forgive us all our sins and receive us as Your children and heirs. You cause Your name to be proclaimed through the Word. Since you have revealed Yourself in Your Word, You want to be known, glorified, and honored by the means of speech; and, according to the First Commandment, You will also reveal Yourself to us exactly as You have men preach of You. Grant us the faith to listen to You in Your Word. Amen.
 
For all mothers, who have spoken the Word of God into their children's hearts and lives, that they might see the fruit of that speech in faith, works, and love and finally be reunited with their families by flesh in the eternal kingdom promised to them in the divine Word
 
For David Schoen, that the Lord his God would grant him health and healing
 
For all construction workers, that the holy angels would watch over them and guard them in all their ways
Art: GRÜNEWALD, Matthias,  Resurrection (c. 1515)
Memorial Lutheran Church
smurray@mlchouston.org
http://www.mlchouston.org
© Scott Murray 2018
Memorial Lutheran Church, 5800 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77057
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