“So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ.” Romans 10:17
I was given the assignment of preaching on this text, and it was suggested I might “Talk about how it is important to hear the word spoken in person despite all the media platforms available.”
And I thought “No, I don’t think that is what I’m going to talk about.”
For sure it is important to hear the Word. But surely that can’t mean only in person from a voice, with ears. That would not be good news for people with hearing disabilities. That would not be good news for people unable to leave their homes to hear live preaching because of mobility issues. That would, in fact, be very limiting for the Word indeed.
What Paul means by the Word is the live giving good news of the love and grace of Jesus Christ. And the word he uses “to hear” (akouó) doesn’t just mean sound. It literally means a sound that has meaning, but in the context, it means to deeply understand and comprehend a message. Somewhere I read a good translation “to have a message come alive in your heart.”
The faith that comes from what is heard which comes from the word of Christ is the life-giving message of God’s love for all people that grabs hold of you and is deeply understood and comes alive in your heart.
In this section of Romans, Paul talks about how God uses people to share that message of love and grace so that others can hear, that is, deeply comprehend and understand it, so it comes alive in their hearts.
And people can certainly hear that message in person from a preacher in the pulpit. Or they can hear it the way people originally heart it from Paul, by reading what he wrote in a letter. Or they can read it on a Facebook post. Or a tweet. Or on a beautiful photo on Instagram. Or a blog post they found through Google. Or they can hear it on a podcast. Or watch it on YouTube.
You get the picture. Faith is a gift from God, but God does not magically implant the gift of faith outside of human relationships. “Faith comes from what is heard” God chooses to use human beings to give the gift of faith to each other. That happens through community. Digital Ministry enhances and strengthens community. Digital ministry enables more people to “hear the word” and embrace the message of God’s love and grace that comes alive in our hearts.
So go, show ’em, Jesus!