For the word of God is living and active,
sharper than any two-edged sword,
piercing to the division of soul and of spirit,
of joints and of marrow,
and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
And no creature is hidden from his sight,
but all are naked and exposed
to the eyes of him
to whom we must give account.
As this week draws to an end, O Lord, remind us of the passing of time. We are as grass, cut down in the evening and cast into the fire. Teach us to live each day as our last, and draw us again into the fellowship of Your love through Jesus Christ. Give us the joyful expectation of Your coming, O Savior, that we may lift up our heads when the final redemption draws near. Send Your Spirit to those who forget You in the rush of day and in the rioting of night. Guide the homes of Your people to prepare for worship. Comfort those who are sorrowful, strengthen us all for the work of sharing Your love in Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us. Amen.
One Sunday a couple of weeks ago, I had a vision. At least I think I can call it a vision. I didn’t see any apparitions or strange sights–no flying wheels or angels. It was more an inner perception in my spirit than anything I actually saw. But it continues to change the way I interact with God’s Word.
That particular Sunday was a difficult one for me. I didn’t sleep well the night before. When I woke, I was feeling ill-prepared and ill at ease. It was one of those mornings that no matter what I did, it didn’t go well. You know the type. It was a burn-the-eggs, snag-your-sock, trip-over-a-rock, fumble-with-the keys kind of morning. It seemed like anything I tried to do took much too long, and didn’t end well.
The worship service was about to start, and I was feeling very out-of-sorts. I didn’t feel it–(not that feelings are what matter(!!)) Truth be told, it was one of those rare mornings where I thought to myself, “If only I can get through leading worship, then I can rest, and start over the next day.” Pastors do occasionally have those kind of days.
The vision came half-way through the service. It was during the recitation of the Apostles Creed. Vicar Adams was leading the congregation in reciting the Creed, and I “saw” it. Words, barreling toward me. I don’t know how to describe how it happened, other than that. Like a marksman shooting arrows right at me, I was watching as those words were targeting my heart, mind, and soul, moment by blessed moment.
So many times in my life I have taken the stance that the Word of God is “beside” me. I can look at it, read it, comment on it, stand over it, stand under it, but always the word is beside me, next to me, outside of myself. This time the word was coming at me and penetrating me. It was like time stopped for a moment, and instead of looking forward to the future, or reflecting on the past, the word of God was speaking right to me–right between my eyes, right into my heart, right into my sorry, needy, beggarly life. Like barrels rolling off the back of a semi-truck that I was following on the road, every Word of that Creed was coming at me–inescapably, beautifully, powerfully.
“I believe in God the Father, maker of heaven and earth” TWANG! I watch those words come at me and then I feel them hit me like an arrow to my heart. “God is MY God! He made ME!! I am his CHILD! He is MY Father!! In that moment I powerfully experienced those words deep in my soul.
“And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord” BOOM! Like a barrel rolling right into me, those words hit me like a ton of bricks. “Jesus is MY LORD! He is my LEADER, my MASTER, the only one I am accountable to!” He is the one I follow, and not another!
…”Suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried” SLICE! The sword of God’s word pierces my heart. I am the reason Jesus suffered! Jesus did all of this for ME! He is here with ME in this moment! He suffered so that I don’t have to. He died my death so that I may live!!
“I believe in the Holy Spirit” SMACK! Like a slow-moving bullet flying and hitting my chest, those words penetrate my heart. The Spirit of God IS DWELLING WITHIN me as God promises each baptized believer in Jesus!!
“The forgiveness of sins”…POW! “I am forgiven and free! Hallelujah! I am free!”
I am still processing that moment. Words don’t do it justice. And in sharing this moment with you, I suppose that I risk being thought of as crazy, or touched in the head, a little too enthusiastic, or maybe sleep deprived (I am living the RV dream after all), but I don’t really care. I truly am thankful that God revealed to me in that moment that His words and promises are not something that I can bypass, or stand next too, or look past, without being affected by them in a deep, meaningful, and powerful way. Even now, I am struggling to wipe the tears out of my eyes as I write this because God’s word has become very real to me. As God’s word should for all of us, at every moment in our lives. Sometimes we read God’s word and we don’t feel it (not that feelings are what matter!!), but our lack of attention to his Word never takes away from what it powerfully IS.
God’s word (Jesus) reminds us of its/HIS own power: “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. (Hebrews 4:12-13)
My Lord, and My God, thank you for revealing yourself to me in that powerful moment. Enable me (and all of us) to live in the light of your word by the power of your word, with your Holy Spirit dwelling in us day by day, until we see you face to face. Amen.
In Christ Jesus,
Pastor Langdon Reinke