Every time we gather for worship, we hear Scripture read out loud. This is an unusual practice. After all, I’m almost certain that every adult in our congregation is literate and has access to Scripture on the phone in their pockets. Why waste time having someone read to us, out loud, like we are preschoolers?
The Bible passages we’ll hear this Sunday demonstrate that this public reading of Scripture goes back thousands of years. They help us see why we still include the reading of God’s word in worship.
When I lead Bible Studies, I often pray this prayer:
“Lord speak to us the word we need to hear. Give us a word of comfort and a word of challenge. Kindle our faith.”
God’s word confronts us with its power and its truth. By listening to it with other people, we are reminded that it’s not just a word for us personally, but a word meant for the healing and restoration of the whole community. The Holy Spirit comes to us through the reading of the word.