Reading: 1st Thessalonians 2: 9-13
Verse 12: You accepted it not as the word of man, but as it actually is, as the word of God.
As children we would often use the phrase, “Stick and stone may break my bones, but names will never hurt me”. It was a way to try and deflect and minimalize the teasing and bullying that were part of childhood, but but in reality the words were powerful and often hurtful. As a people who communicate primarily with words, words are the foundation of knowledge and understanding and even of faith.
On the surface level, the Bible contains just words. As Paul wrote and spoke to the many churches he founded, he used just words. In more recent times people like Martin Luther King, Junior, just spoke words. Words are powerful. Words can change how we see the world, how we understand things, and how we believe and think. Paul came to the Thessalonians and preached the gospel. As Paul and his companions were among them, they were “holy, righteous, and blameless”. To be heard, one must first walk the walk. Paul and friends went on to encourage and comfort the Thessalonians and also urged them to live lives “worthy of God”. Yet as Paul preached, it wasn’t just words. He writes, “You accepted it not as the word of man, but as it actually is, as the word of God”. The words Paul spoke took on life and were heard as the Word of God. The scriptures continue to be the living Word of God and will always be alive.
The Word continues to be alive as it works in and through each of us. As we read the Bible and hear the Word proclaimed, it creeps into our hearts and minds and takes root. It shapes and forms and refines us. It challenges and convicts us. It becomes who we are as we grow in our faith and deepen our relationship with Jesus. And when we share our faith with others, it becomes a word planted in their lives, waiting for the living God to take that seed and to make it grow. As we go forth and live holy and righteous lives we are encouragement and love and hope to the world around us. As such we too will have the opportunity to share our faith and the story of the good news of Jesus Christ. This day, may the living word flow in and through us, bringing Christ to the world.