What Mary Whispered
Faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the Word of Christ. – Romans 10:17 (NRSV)
Right before standing up to give my very first sermon as a seminary student, the Rev. Dr. Mary Luti leaned over and, through her characteristic impish grin, whispered, “Preach the Word, brother!”
I froze. Preach the Word? I planned to dish up some tasty ideas before sitting down again. Nevertheless, I preached what I had prepared, something about comparing worship to a dinner party blah blah blah. Mary seemed happy enough, which was all I cared about at the time.
Two decades later, I continue to hear Mary whispering that to me. I’m still not completely sure what it means to preach the Word, but it isn’t about offering tasty ideas or churchy blah blah blah. It’s not my Word I’m called to preach, but Christ’s. Christ is the Word. If salvation comes by faith, and faith comes by hearing the Word of Christ, what Mary whispered could have been yelled.
When staring at a blank computer screen on Thursday afternoons, I often ask myself: What’s Jesus saying here and why does it matter? How does Jesus embody this teaching? How can I? Those questions are not only helpful for preachers one or two days a week. I dare say they are important for all Jesus followers, every day.
Jesus as the Word made flesh is what Christianity, preaching and life are all about.
What will your life say today? Whatever the day brings, preach the Word!
Christ, let my life speak your Word.