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GUEST SERMON: Listen to the God who speaks

In this week’s guest sermon, Major Rev. Tom Hamilton says that ultimately, whatever our age, each one of us shares the same purpose in life - to love God, and to love others.
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Rev. John Evans
Special to The Guardian

I’m sure you’ve heard of Helen Keller. She was only 19 months old when an illness took her ability to hear and see, robbing her of being able to make sense of the world around her. 

At such a tender age, she was trapped in her body, unable to communicate with the outside world. 

When she was six years old, her parents hired Anne Sullivan, a teacher, whose job was to break into Helen’s silent and dark world. A breakthrough finally came when Sullivan was able to teach Helen how to sign the word “water”. Suddenly everything changed, and the course of Helen’s life would never be the same. 

The story of Helen Keller reminds me of the power of communication.

The third verse of the Bible says, “Then God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” The very first verses of the Bible do not begin by making a case for the existence of God. That is assumed. But that’s not the only thing that these verses tell us about God. We are confronted with the amazing and astounding truth: God speaks. 

The God who exists is not silent. He talks. And when He talks, things happen. Light pierces darkness. Planets and stars go spinning, and humanity is created. God’s speech is powerful.  There was only nothingness before God spoke. But with God’s words, light came into existence. God created simply by speaking. Words change things.  

God had every right to create the world and leave it to its natural processes. He didn’t need to intervene and communicate with his creatures. He is not compelled to become involved in the human plight. There is nothing that says that God has to reveal Himself to us. But He does. He could have spoken the world into existence and never have spoken again. We could have been left in ignorance about our Creator and our purpose. Yet here we see the good news of the gospel.

The gospel is the story of a God who issues a call to helpless sinners. In our blindness and deafness, we are imprisoned by our own sinfulness. We cannot see the goodness of God. We cannot hear the voice of God. That is, until God speaks. Like Helen Keller, we struggle to make sense of the world around us. Why are we here? Where are we going?

But the beauty of the gospel is that the Creator chose to enter the story. He chose to become one of the created. John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” And then it says a few verses later, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” Jesus was God’s Word to us. It broke through our dark, silent prison and said, ‘Let there be light!’ “In him was life, and that life was the light of men.” (John 1:4)

After Sullivan communicated with Helen Keller, she taught her to communicate with others.  Sullivan did not speak to Helen just to keep her company. She saw Helen’s potential. The power of that initial communication led her to places no one could have imagined.

God does not speak to us so we might keep Him company or merely be friends. He speaks to us, lavishes His grace upon us, so that He can take us to new heights. Maybe you’re still in the dark and trapped by not knowing where you came from and where you’re going.

Would you find all you are in the God who speaks?

Rev. John Evans is with Community Baptist Church in Charlottetown. A guest sermon runs regularly in Saturday’s Guardian and is provided through Christian Communications.

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