Monthly theme: Receptivity.
Reading time: two minutes.
Luther called all Christian theology a “receptive theology.” God speaks and God works. We receive. From baptism to our dying breath where we echo Martin’s last scrawl, “We are such beggars,” all we are and have is what we have received from God.
At our best, we’re open and receptive to his Word and his work in our lives.
At our worst, we ignore, resist, and argue.
This month we’ll look at the joy of receptivity from four different angles. We start this week with an odd thesis: “We’re receptive to God’s Word because we are ourselves a word from God to the world.”
The world needs a word from God, and so “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth” (John 1).
That Word, Jesus, was so completely different from anything this dark world knew that he was called the Light of the world.
Here’s where it gets awkward and uncomfortable. Jesus told us, “You are the light of the world.”
Hmmm. See above, “At our worst, we ignore, resist, and argue.” It’s hard to get comfortable that he who IS the Light calls you and me the light of the world.
My word to the world is garbled, confusing, misleading, muddled nonsense. Nothing I can come up with is of any use at all in helping the world know Jesus.
That’s where the receptivity comes in.
At the Ascension, Jesus as much as said that there was no Plan B. He was leaving, and he was leaving us with the mission.
We are the plan.
But he also promised that the Spirit was coming, to remind us of all he had said, to teach us the way of life through his instruments of Word and Sacrament.
Receptivity says, “If it’s true that I am God’s message to the world, then Lord, fill me.”
Your sermons or the lessons you teach in the classroom each week are where we start. We direct people to the Word of God so that their receptive hearts may be filled.
But your word to the world is more than just the words you speak. YOU are the light of the world.
It’s why people in ministry, before teaching and preaching the lessons and messages we’ve prepared always ask, “Has this Word of God made a difference in my life this week?”
That’s Plan A. There is only one Word of God, but it’s on display in the living, breathing words, the messages of life that we are, the living embodiment of the Word that became flesh.
“It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2:20).
That’s why we’re eager, willing, receptive welcomers of the Word of God. We are a “word” from God to the world.
(Thanks to M. Robert Mulholland and “Shaped by the Word” for his assistance.)
And thanks for reading.