Note From The Pastor:
January 13, 2018
From the Pastor’s Desk:
“Therfore Eli said to Samuel "Go, lie down; and if he calls you, you shall say 'Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.'"
I Samuel 3:9
When I was growing up as a Roman Catholic, there were several occasions of exceptional pomp and circumstance. The Protestant Church has two sacraments; the Catholic Church has SEVEN! And each of them are a big deal. In most cases, special clothes must be purchased, mandatory haircuts given, food prepared, and parties planned.
The one that sticks out most in my mind is the sacrament known as First communion. This is the celebration of the first time a child (or adult convert) is allowed to receive Holy Communion. This usually happens in the second grade. For me, it was also the first time I ever assisted in leading worship from the front of the church.
It wasn't a huge part. I didn't preside over the communion or anything like that. I did get to read a bible passage... which means this was also the first time I read scripture aloud from the chancel. The passage was I Samuel 3:1-10. I was SO excited. My teacher gave me a typed copy of the passage glued to a piece of sturdy red construction paper. I imagine I could still find it if I went spelunking through my Dad's basement. I practiced every day that week. I practically had it memorized. And it went off great. I didn't fumble or stutter. I didn't go too slow or too fast.
But here's the thing. I spent more than a week reading that passage out loud and in silence, but even after all of the practice, I had no clue what any of it meant. I knew the words, but I didn't know the meaning. That is how a lot of people approach the bible. They read it. They know the words. But they don't have a clue about the meaning. And here's why: the bible is not a textbook, it is not stereo instructions, and it is not something to be glossed over like a magazine in the dentist's office.
The Word is ALIVE! And it is full of meaning, but you have to read it and read it again and then read it again. Most importantly, though, you have to carry expectation with you as you read it, an expectation that God IS going to speak to us through the reading of God's Word.
As you begin your devotionals this week, begin with a prayer: "Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening."
May God bless your reading of The Word,
Cherry Hill United Methodist Church