Unstoppable Word

Photo credit: Questa Durron, flickr

Photo credit: Questa Durron, flickr

Everyone tried to talk me out of attending that Prophetic Theology class. I take it the professor was not the pride of the school, not something they wanted to showcase to a prospective student. The admissions rep firmly tried to steer me toward an art history class instead, while a current student groaned that said teacher didn’t even know how to use Powerpoint.

He didn’t. He was thoroughly old-fashioned in his manner and his teaching style. He was obviously close to retiring, and he’d gotten a little self-indulgent in the way such people do. In this case, it meant that instead of teaching rigorous methods of interpretation or exciting new theories, he just invited his class to read the Bible and enjoy it together. Not even study it, just enjoy it.

He read several passages out loud in that class, relishing their familiar rhythms. But one of them in particular I heard brand new, like I’d never heard it ever before.

As the rain and the snow
    come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
    without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
    so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
    It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
    and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

I sat up straight, electrified. I understood this as a message from God, delivered in that stuffy classroom.

I heard those words speak to me and say, So you’re here to find out if your life’s work involves sharing the Word of God?

Yes. The Word will get shared. There is nothing you can do to stop it. It’s coming down from Heaven to Earth like a torrential storm and it won’t come back. Not until it’s washed away every lie and worn down the rock that encases human hearts. Not until it’s nourished the seeds of Spirit and passed out soul food to all who hunger and thirst for justice.

And you can be part of this. No matter what your life holds, you
will be part of this.

I didn’t end up going to grad school there, or at all, at least for now. But the experience of going there was worth it, just for the insight that God’s word is truly unstoppable. Even in an old musty building, delivered by an uncool teacher, in a class no one ever wanted to take, it will never fail to find its way to the ears that need to hear it most.

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