Monday, May 08, 2006
Spreading the Word
The New Testament calls us to spread the word and preach the good news. The words for preaching that Bultmann associates most closely with theology are kerugma (NT:2782, Luke 11:32, Romans 16:25) and kerusso (NT:2784, Matt 3:1, Matt 4:17, Luke 9:2, Luke 24:47, Romans 10:13-15). Unlike Bultmann, we must trust the Holy Spirit to interpret our prayers to God and our message to others (Romans 8:26). We cannot trust ourselves any more than Bultmann could trust himself. The truth beyond ourselves must give validity to our words, for our words do not have validity on their own.
Consider the Kohathites in Numbers 4:4-6 and 15-20.
"This is the work of the Kohathites in the Tent of Meeting: the care of the most holy things. When the camp is to move, Aaron and his sons are to go in and take down the shielding curtain and cover the ark of the Testimony with it. Then they are to cover this with hides of sea cows, spread a cloth of solid blue over that and put the poles in place... After Aaron and his sons have finished covering the holy furnishings and all the holy articles, and when the camp is ready to move, the Kohathites are to come to do the carrying. But they must not touch the holy things or they will die. The Kohathites are to carry those things that are in the Tent of Meeting...
"Eleazar son of Aaron, the priest, is to have charge of the oil for the light, the fragrant incense, the regular grain offering and the anointing oil. He is to be in charge of the entire tabernacle and everything in it, including its holy furnishings and articles."
The LORD said to Moses and Aaron, "See that the Kohathite tribal clans are not cut off from the Levites. So that they may live and not die when they come near the most holy things, do this for them: Aaron and his sons are to go into the sanctuary and assign to each man his work and what he is to carry. But the Kohathites must not go in to look at the holy things, even for a moment, or they will die."
Like the Kohathites carried pieces of the tabernacle, we carry the pieces of God’s message. Like the Kohathites, what we carry is covered and obscured. We can’t know it fully. We can’t understand it fully. Such knowledge would be destructive. Like the Kohathites, we carry our burden in faith, believing that someone, somehow will take what we carry and assemble it so that God’s plan for creation will be fully realized. Like the Kohathites, we carry it reverently, fearing its holy power.
But the Koathites carried an earthly burden under the supervision of an earthly priest. We do not. We carry the Kingdom of God, and Jesus carries it with us. Jesus has seen the Kingdom of God. He built it; he tore it down. He can and does rebuild it, reassuring us gently. “Don’t worry if you can’t understand all there is to know about what we carry. Don’t worry if you can’t even understand the piece you carry. Now you know in part, but someday you will know fully. When the time is right, I’ll help you understand. I’ll show you what to do. In the meantime, trust in me.”
The best I can say about Bultmann is this: he sought to understand the piece of God that he carried.
HillCountryWriter Category: Church stuff
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