After we completed our first sermons in preaching class, the question that most desperately needed to be answered for many was: How do you deal with nerves? Dr. McKenzie’s answer was a bit of a surprise: “When you stand up here, you presume to speak the word of God, so a certain amount of nervousness is appropriate. Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.” I’m not sure if that helped, but it’s something that a lot of people should hear. There are a lot of people running around today presuming to speak for God and, in my opinion, they should be a little more nervous about doing so.
The Greek word angelos, from which we get “angel,” means “messenger” and is occasionally applied to human beings. Most of the time, it refers to a courier, particularly one for a king. But it is also used for human beings who speak for God, especially prophets.
The curious thing about these messengers who presume to speak for God is that they don’t agree all the time. Some support the monarchy and some don’t. Some think the temple is the most pressing issue for Israel, the key to prosperity, and some think it is corrupt and wasteful. Some think homosexuals are an abomination and some think homosexuals are made in the image of God and should be afforded all civil rights that heterosexuals have. Some think that women’s health and reproductive rights should be controlled and monitored by men and some think that women’s control of their own bodies is critical to a free and prosperous society. Wait, I think I jumped ahead. Anyway, how do we know who is right? How do we know who speaks for God?
I won’t pretend this is an easy thing. As someone who aspires to speak for God professionally, I’m not even sure about myself. However, the Bible seems to provide us with a few clues. Here, perhaps, Jesus really is the answer.
Please join us this Sunday, 11am at the Kessler to talk about what that really means.
Grace and Peace,