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Eric's Sunday Sermon; And the Written Word? Do You Take Reading For Granted?
The great expanse of earth
The problem with requiring reading
The written word or “the word” is what modern Christians are to follow. “Read, learn, study and meditate on it” in order to grow in faith and be a true believer. “If you do not read and study the Bible then you cannot hold a faith that is genuine”. How many times have we heard that? For me, I cannot count the times. For a while I even believed it. I exhorted others in like fashion. It is wrong. Incredible isn’t it? How can it be? No this is not blasphemy. It is so obvious that it can no longer be debated.
The Nicene Council happened about the middle of the 4th century – mostly putting together the Bible Americans believe today after translation. Many people today rely on many different versions. My wife’s Vietnamese Bible has some interesting variations as does the Spanish Speaking Roman Catholic. To me that is all fine.
Here is the rub. Gutenberg in about 1455 was the first printed Bible capable of being anywhere close to mass produced. At the time there were probably less than 20,000 books (all books, in the Western world). Gutenberg made little progress in that regard. Then you have Luther in around 1522 taking it from Latin into the real world. At the time only about .05% of people could even speak Latin much less read it. In around 1600 about 85% of all folks were illiterate. (give or take 5% - who cares?)
Now is someone going to tell me that only about 1% of the world between 1450 and 1600 were real Christians because they did not read it they could not be? And virtually .05% before that?
Bible thumpers have a problem here. Preachers that demand you read or go to hell have an even bigger problem. And wives who think their husbands are not good Christians because they do not go to Bible Study have an even bigger bigger problem in faith. We have no indication that half of the Apostles ever read a word – of anything. There is no indication for sure that Paul was capable of writing rather than using “scribes”. Have you ever wondered why there is no indication that Christ could write? Certainly the Son of God could if that was meant to be? He could read, but could He write?
Everybody has the right to believe
From sea to shining sea all are included in the dream
Happy is a state of mind
So most the Western world up until about a few hundred years ago could not be Christians according to some who toss out scripture as though it proves their belief. “If you don’t read it then you cannot know the Word of God”. That is just crazy by 2,000 years of history and standards.
So I fully suggest that anyone reading this should take a moment and thank God for the ability to read. There is no question that it is good to read the Bible. There is no question that it brings us better understanding of God. And there is no question that studying it is good for you – normally.
Here is another problem. Just as it is, some of us are more literate than others even today. Some have a larger capacity of syntax and many a larger vocabulary. Some read and write and become quite exceptionally literate. Some get fancy higher education. Some choose to study language like English. And yet some still do not get to attend school and learn their mother tongue. I knew a gal who would comment on my sermons with true vim and vigor about reading the Bible and studying. But in her comments you could tell she did not really have advanced understanding in literacy. Probably she could not really comprehend much of what she read because her reiteration of what she read made little to no sense. We all have different capacities and reading comprehension is not birth given but takes hard work. Yet I know a priest who is not really very literate in Spanish or English but gives the most wonderful sermons. And with just a few phrases it was obvious he knew nothing of Latin.
How can that be? Please do not be bothered by this. It is a simple Preacher man’s way of getting to an important point. Yes it will have to do with love.
Doubting Thomas. And Christ says to the effect “so much greater is the faith of those who will believe and yet have not seen”. Thomas an original 12 had an issue with proof. Some people do not even have an issue with being able to read the Bible. They just believe – do not ask me how. Their faith is true and astounding! That just gets me all jazzed up to think about. My son did not even have to read or even listen a bit and he believed before he could speak.
I hope you get some pleasure. My mom had this album and I loved it.
I think I will just close my eyes and listen.
Now unless you think I have gone bonkers – attend a Lutheran, Episcopal, Anglican or Catholic service. My elder son and one daughter were bell ringers. Really during a part of the preparation of the Holy Eucharist a child rings a little bellalabra (kind of like chimes). But here is the cool part – that is tradition left over from a period of just about 300 years ago maximum, when the services were all in Latin. Nobody could understand a word, so the bells tolled/told peoples when to get up and down and cross themselves or say a litany. I am serious that is true. Mass in Mexico only went understandable Spanish in the last half of the last century. I am not making this stuff up.
Happy days are here again the skies are clear and bright again – happy days are here again.
Lest my neighbor think of this a freedom from study – stop it right there. We are the lucky ones, the ones who just get it out of a miracle and the ones who can read and read well. How cool is that. I used to preach to a congregation of English as a Second Language. The older ones had to read my self and catch a word here and there. They were awesome. Because I spoke with tongues. No, not that gibberish and strange weird mumbo jumbo, I spoke with passion and huge doses of love beyond my mental capacity. The word was made and in 20 hrs. of work and prayer and meditation and supplication a 15 minute sermon was not made out of words but of love. Monday morning and ten minutes of reading the scriptures and giving it up and the sermon would flow. Repeat several times daily and with much prayer and nature and release of my own will and boom baby a meaningful sermon was coming through me but not of me. Is that how those 1300 preacher’s did it? I wonder. My wife tells me that something like bài giảng của bạn đang di chuyển means something like that I moved them with my passion. Could be wrong there. But the notion lingers.
I don’t know how things all work. Best I know is that Eric plans and God laughs, Eric understands and God goes back to work on me. What the hell is understanding anyway?
And as it is a beseech you to love. Comprehension may be well overrated. When I speak I sound wise for I have given it much work. When I feel I feel you for I have surrendered to your understanding. But when I love I have much more. I have a two way connection in which language lingers and fingers its way out of an abyss. For it is in love that we know God and not by hard work. By Grace that he allows even the most illiterate to learn of Him. And I swear that many who cannot read know God far better than I. But I am blessed for I put love above all understanding. Go bless someone else.