God has promised to give generously of His mercy and His Holy Spirit through His Word and Sacraments. We gather as a community to receive God’s gifts because apart from His gifts we have nothing of value.
The public reading of the Holy Scriptures (the Bible) is a vital part of our worship service. Jesus said to the devil, Man does not live by bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4). We need God to speak to us. It is our spiritual food. Only in this way can we discover what’s in His heart when He thinks about us.
There is something wholesome and renewing about listening to someone read aloud the Word of God without explanation. We feel as Mary did (Luke 10:38-42), who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said, while her sister Martha was busy with cookng and serving. Martha asked Jesus to make Mary help her, but he answered, Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her. It will not be taken away from us, either! On Sunday we stop working, sit down, and choose what is better.
In addition to just having portions read to us, one portion receives further treatment in the pastor’s sermon, to explain it to a further level of detail, or to highlight present day applications and situations. God’s Word is not a museum piece that we stand back and admire; it forms attitudes and shapes thoughts and actions for daily living.
We don’t just receive the Word of God through hearing; the sacrament of Holy Baptism connects the Word with ordinary water, to make it a washing of new birth. As many of you as were baptized into Christ, have clothed yourselves with Christ, Paul writes in Galatians 3:27. The sacrament of Holy Communion connects the Word with bread and wine, to make them carriers of the body and blood of Jesus the Good Shepherd, when He laid down His life for the sheep. Thus we hear God’s Word, we wash in it, we eat and drink it. God feeds His sheep, and we gather to let Him do that. Green Pastures.