LICHTSTRAHL 117 GOSPEL: Luke 8 (4-18) EPIPHANY 12. FEBRUARY 2023
HOW DO WE LIVE WITH THE GOSPEL?
The word of God is like a seed, that is sowed all the time, no matter where it falls or how it is received and lived with – the word of God is sowed all the time.
How do people live with that seed?
In old times there were many, who lived with the Word of God daily, by reading the gospel. It was for instance read by the family eldest every evening and it was a sacred ritual in family life. It was accompanied by respect,reverent silence and acception – no matter which age the family members were. All assembled at the same time every day to listen to the gospel reading. With many people of our country it is still alive in that way. But more and more it disappears as a family ritual, and rather becomes a personal one. Still there are many grandparents and elders, who read the gospel to the younger ones for instance and that surely is a blessing, especially to childrens’ lives. Hearing the Word of God every day prepares a very rich soil, into which seeds can fall later in life, when the Word is not read daily by a family member, but is speaking very softly inwardly - especially in times of darkness and hardship. Listening to it daily with our physical ears as a child or young person prepares an inner ear. That inner ear is able to witness and listen to the Word that is constantly sounding in our soul life. Some of the words in today’s gospel are spoken to those, that can hear with their soul ears: “Whoever has ears to hear, let him hear!” Apparently it is not self-evident that people can hear in this other way.
That is one intensive way of living with the gospel. The other is a more reduced way of listening to the Word, when only going to a church service on a Sunday or even just a few times in the year. Then the soil is not prepared by the regular frequency of receiving the seed, but through the atmosphere and structure of the service, into which the gospel reading is embedded, the sermon that takes up the meaning of the gospel and the presence of a congregation, which strengthens the receiving. Many ears together do hear more than one ear on its own. In community with others it becomes easier to live according to the teachings of the gospel.
To many however the Word of God is like a seed, that cannot grow. Either there is no interest, or there is too much hardness, or there are too many concerns and troubles, or there is no time. What can we do about that? We have chosen to listen to the Word and do experience the power of it. We are lighting up a lamp every time we come together and listen to the gospel reading. We are told by the Christ Jesus, that we should not put that light under our beds or cover it with a vessel, but put it onto a stand, sothat all who enter may see the light.
Surely that does not mean that we put up a light as strong as a street lamp or even a flashlight, but we are surely called upon to softly let light shine into the world around us.
That can be done by -
All these different ways are preparing a good soil for the seed to be sown: determining the right place to receive it, softening the hardness of the rocks, reducing the thornbushes and working, sothat the seed is kept alive and can bear fruit a hundredfold.
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