God’s Word & Me
To assert—as Christians do—that man is on this earth to be a hearer of God’s Word is to invite reflections on a great paradox. For, if the assertion is true, its truth identifies man at a level deeper than his existence. It goes to the base of his being. The full import of this assertion means:
First, if God makes me to be a hearer of the Word, his first Word to me is that which summons me from nothingness. The first truth about me is not my existence but the free divine evocation that brings about my existence: “I am, because I hear.”
To put the thing another way: my capacity to hear God’s Word is the most rudimentary and foundational fact of my existence, because it is the point at which I am pried away from nothingness. Hearing God’s initial Word is my deepest “experience,” a memory too deep in my essence to be retrieved.
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Patrick Henry Reardon is pastor emeritus of All Saints Antiochian Orthodox Church in Chicago, Illinois, and the author of numerous books, including, most recently, Out of Step with God: Orthodox Christian Reflections on the Book of Numbers (Ancient Faith Publishing, 2019).
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