I don’t watch Wheel of Fortune very often, but if I see it’s on, I almost always stop down and watch a little. I try to figure out the words to the puzzle before the contestants do. I loved guessing the words when I was a kid, but my mom was the best at it. My father-in-law was actually on the show as a contestant in the 80s when you could only win prizes instead of money. He won a few things and was about to head to the bonus round when he went bankrupt! He knew the words in the puzzle, but he decided to spin the wheel one more time. The words he knew held the power to win him the game, but alas, perhaps he took the words for granted.
In Acts 13:13-16, Paul and Barnabas visit a local synagogue in Pisidian Antioch as was their custom when they came to a new town. One of the leaders of the synagogue asks them a poignant question, “Do you have a word of exhortation for the people?”(NRSV, Paraphrase) This reminds me of one my preaching classes in seminary at Perkins. This same question was posited when we got up to deliver a sermon. “Do you have a word for us, Preacher?”
When we come to church on Sunday, we gather together, to hear a word from the Bible, the Word of God, about the Living Word, Jesus the Christ. Jesus was the Word made flesh. Jesus, the logos, or Divine-Great-Big-Idea-Of-God’s-Love-For-The-World-Become-Human, spoke the Word of God’s deliverance and reconciliation. Words hold power. Words have the ability to start a movement or start a fight. Jesus, The Word, started a movement that is still going today.
Albus Dumbledore, the great fictional wizard, once said to Harry Potter, “Words are in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it.”
Do we take God’s Word for granted? We have the words of God contained in scripture, but are we listening? Are we reading them? Are we allowing them to read us? To shape us? To exhort us? To move us?
Lord Jesus, Word of God, help us to listen to you and your words. May we be open to their power to move us beyond ourselves out into the world and into your grace. Amen.