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Humbly listen to God and one another

This past week in worship at Park United Methodist Church we encountered some of the words from Paul to the early church in Rome. Specifically we looked at Romans 10:12-17 and as I prepared for the sermon and, since I gave that message, the words of Romans 10:14 have been turning in my head.

That verse states: "But how are they to call on one in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him?" (NRSV) I really have been wrestling with the proclamation of Christ by us followers.

Over the roughly 10 years I have been a pastor, I have heard so many conflicted messages of what Christ stands for. I have heard messages ranging from the radical hospitality we are called to as Christ's followers to the staunch judgment of God for those who do not follow the commands God has given.

But one thing has remained constant: there is no more unity or clarity of a common message coming from the Body of Christ than there was when I was growing up.

The reason those words from Paul have been running in my head is because I truly wonder if the message we proclaim is God's message or if it is our own message draped in the veneer of God's word. I wonder one of the main tasks we as Christians have in our task of proclamation is to begin by listening.

Perhaps the brokenness and healing begins in our own lives. Perhaps, we as Christians must begin our proclamation but admitting our own brokenness and need of healing. Perhaps, we need to listen to all the ways we proclaim to have the answers when all of us are still learning and need to listen to how God is calling us to grow.

I don't have answers to these questions and really the more I listen to God's voice in Holy Scriptures, the more questions I end up having and the more I recognize my own need to hear the proclamation of Christ in my life. May we humbly listen to God and one another as we continue to live in the community of the world.

Justin Halbersma is pastor of Park United Methodist Church in Brainerd.

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