In the name of the Father, the Son and
the Holy Ghost.
To-day we celebrate in Slavonic, and the
custom is that I should therefore preach in Russian; but I should like
to say a few words now in English to our newly ordained reader, so that
he, together with his family who have come from France understand my
St John Climacus says that the word of
God will be powerless and dormant if it is not spoken by one who speaks
the word of God from the depth of his own soul. Giving us an image, he
says that an arrow will lie useless, however straight and pointed it be,
unless there is a bow and a string, an arm, and an eye, and a
determinate intention, to fly the shaft to its goal in the mind of him
who uses it.
The word of God is life, the word of God
is Spirit; but we can, alas, quench the Spirit, make the holiest words
into an empty sound, whether we celebrate, whether we read the Holy
Scriptures or whether we proclaim them if these holy words have not
reached us before they reach anyone else. Whether we pray, whether we
read the Scriptures whether we preach the word of God, those who hear us
speak should overhear the way in which we speak to God — not to them.
And this is why, in the admonition which is read to the reader, it is
said that he must read daily the Scriptures; and he must not only allow
the word of God to reach him, but force the word of God into his mind,
so that his mind be moulded by this word; force it into his heart, so
that his heart is made clean and renewed by this word of truth, and this
word of light.
And also — and this is not the least —
every word he proclaims, every word a Christian says to God in his
prayers, he must embody in his life; unless our prayers, unless the word
of God which we read and we proclaim is made into life within us, gives
a shake and a dynamis to other words and to every action, to every
thought and every movement of our heart and our will, then when we will
proclaim it, it will reach those who hear it as a distant echo, but not
as an arrow, flying straight and hitting the target.
And so to-day, our brother Andrew has
undertaken a task which is far beyond the actual reading of the
Scriptures aloud to us; he has undertaken to read this Scriptures and
live by them in such a way that he may identify with these words, and
may speak them not with outward skill but with power of truth. May God's
blessing be upon him, upon those who are of his blood, who have brought
him up, and accompanied him to this first step of dedication. And may he
rejoice and give life to us in his endeavour to identify himself with
the word of God and proclaim it from within a life ever more dedicated
to Him. Amen.