Thursday, February 3, 2011

God Be In My Mouth And In My Speaking*

Fr. Dale Matson
(*From “God be in my mind and in my understanding”, p. 694, The Hymnal 1982)
I am totally committed to the idea that as Christians we are both asked and empowered to speak and in so doing, change the world in which we live. I immediately want to caution that this is not a “Name it and Claim it” theology that I am advocating. Biblical abundance is having enough (give us this day our daily bread). We are asked in our Lord’s Prayer to call down the Kingdom of God (thy kingdom come). When we pray, we ask that God’s will be done on earth (thy will be done). God said through the prophet Isaiah, “So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11). What does this mean? It means that when we pray the words God gives us, our prayers will effect change. The words have efficacy. His words will accomplish something. Prayers have no shelf life. The intercessory prayers of parents have helped their children after the death of the parents. We reach back to intercede for those who have passed on “And we also bless thy holy Name for all thy servants departed this life in thy faith and fear beseeching thee to grant them continual growth in thy love and service.” (Prayers of the People, p. 330, BCP).

Calling things that are not as though they were, could be considered lying but in the context of faith it is a mustard seed sown from which an impossible situation can be changed. A miracle can occur because it is what God would have us say. Chronic unresolved circumstances are awaiting the prayer, “Thy will be done”. Words have the power to help others heal. Each of us can remember something said to us that changed at a minimum the way we saw things. I can still remember my late mother saying to me in the midst of a crisis, “Son, tomorrow will be a better day”. I can remember losing a job and a Christian friend saying to me, “God must have something better in mind for you”.

As Christians we are called to be salt and light and challenged to confront a culture that hates God and yet needs God desperately. As clergy we are reminded that we speak for the church but as Christians we are all called to speak for God. In some cases this requires us to reframe a complaint or rumination into speaking or praying the desired end result. This is how our Lord Prayed. We are God’s ambassadors from His Kingdom inviting the people of this world to come there.

What I have been attempting to say is that as Christians we can change our world starting with the words we speak. Our Lord is the Word of God made flesh and Scripture is the written Word of God. We are incarnational words of God. Paul called us living letters. By living holy and virtuous live our words have the power to give life to others. Our words have the power to pull down strongholds, encourage others and change the world around us. Bit by bit we call down the Kingdom of God to those who don’t know they need God.

“God be at mine end and at my departing” (Ibid). Amen

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