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7/16: The Living Word

6 Pentecost, July 16

Gen. 25:19-34 or Isa. 55:10-13
Ps. 119:105-112 or Ps. 65:(1-8), 9-14
Rom. 8:1-11Matt. 13:1-9, 18-23

The Word of God is living and true, working moment by moment to accomplish a provident will perceived only by those with eyes to see and hears to hear. Even if not known, the Word goes forth, telling its tale day by day and night by night. The Word is working in the world. “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there until they have watered the earth, making it bring forth and sprout; giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and succeed in the thing for which I sent it (Isa. 55:10-11).

The Word that goes forth from the mouth of God is the Word who was with God before all ages. “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God. … And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John. 1:1, 14). Jesus Christ is the storyteller, the Word in the day and the Word in the night. A disciple listens.

The Word promises, “You shall go out in joy, and be led back in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall burst into song, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands” (Isa. 55:12). This is the same Word, the same Jesus, who said, “In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world” (John 16:33). It is precisely in the face of trial and persecution, the cares of the world and the lure of riches, that the Word, when truly heard and understood, bears its miraculous yield, a hundredfold and sixty and thirty (Matt. 13:23).

The joy of the Word invades and transforms a suffering world. “You visit the earth and water it, you greatly enrich it; the river of God is full of water; you provide the people with grain, for so you have prepared for it” (Ps. 65:9). The Word is in the nature of things. “You water its furrows abundantly, settling its ridges, softening it with showers, and blessing its growth. You crown the year with your bounty; your wagon tracks overflow with richness. The pastures of the wilderness overflow, the hills gird themselves with joy, the meadows cloth themselves with flocks, the valleys deck themselves with grain, they shout and sing together for joy” (Ps. 65:10-13).

But we are still afraid, still very timid about the Word that goes forth from the mouth of God, the Word in time and among a chosen people, the Word conquering death itself. May serious and good people know the joy of the Lord, the overflowing of goodness, moving mountains and singing hills, meadows vested in the beauty of flocks? Be not afraid. The Spirit of Jesus is life and peace (Rom. 8:6). That Spirit dwells in and gives life to our mortal bodies (Rom. 8:8, 11).

A mortal human body in which the Word is sown bears fruit to eternal life, and that life is a kingdom at hand. Taste the water, see the flocks and meadows, trees like men walking, hills that clap their hands, and feel your own body move and your voice go forth.

Unless you dance and sing, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. But if the kingdom of heaven is in you, you will dance and sing, you will feel and know.

Look It Up
Read Isaiah 55:10-13. It will not return empty.

Think About It
To set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.


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