Sunday Citation

“We gather each Lord’s Day to hear God, not to see inspiring symbols, express our spiritual instincts, have exciting experiences, or even merely to hear interesting and informative discourses. Furthermore, we come not only to hear this Word proclaimed in the sermon but to hear God address us throughout the service: in the votum (or God’s Greeting), in the law, in the absolution (or declaration of pardon), in the public reading of Scripture, and in the benediction. This is why Reformed and Presbyterian churches privilege the singing of Psalms: God not only gives us something to respond to but also our proper lines of response in the script. The purpose of singing in church is not to express our individual piety, commitment, and feelings (though it enlists these). Rather, according to Paul, we ‘sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs’ so that ‘the Word may dwell in you richly, in all wisdom and understanding’ (Col. 3:16, Eph. 5:19). Even the Sacraments are ‘visible words,’ ratifying before our physical eyes the promise that we have heard with our ears. The ministry of the Word involves all of these elements and encompasses our whole being in a communion of saints. Although private reading of the Bible is of enormous value in strengthening our faith by deepening our understanding, God has chosen preaching as a social event of hearing that makes strangers into a family.”

-Michael Horton in “Hearing is Believing” in the January/February Modern Reformation, p. 28

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