Preaching: the power of words or of God...
A dear friend just lost his father. Following the funeral, he sent me this meditation. How we who preach and those who receive the Word need the power of the Holy Spirit:
For the kingdom of God does not consist in words, but in power. -1Corinthians 4:20
I was recently reminded of this verse, and of the power of preaching, at the wake for my father. My dad was a member of The Veterans of Foreign Wars, and they performed a brief, simple ceremony at the funeral home. There were six men there, and one by one they read a brief prayer or statement about a virtue associated with military service and placed an object on the casket--a sprig of evergreen, a red rose, and so on. Then the saluted the flag, and the casket. It was very moving, and very powerful. And I couldn't help thinking that here were six very average old guys, not tall, not distinguished looking, not great speakers, not remarkable in any way to outward appearances, but they had all served in the armed forces in time of war.
It was who they were as men, what they had done, which was special, and what their service meant to them that made the simple ceremony meaningful, and got you all choked up. How much more, the preaching of the word, in spirit and in power. It's not how you speak, or even what you say in a way (you don't need to be original) but who it is that is saying it, what it means to them, and with what authority they speak.