Near to You

A Dramatic Reading for Three Voices

“Hear, O my people, and I will speak.” (Psalm 50:7)

“To hear God speaking, to listen to his voice, does not necessarily involve the auditory senses, but is like a field of vibrations that surround one’s life and one’s horizon with an engaging reality that overwhelms what is in sight before one.” (from Prayer by Hans Urs von Balthasar [Ignatius Press, 1986])

How does the Word of God enter our lives? How does it make its home in our minds, in our hearts? And how do we make it stick? Sometimes we try to force-feed ourselves with programs, disciplines, and exercises. We feel the pressure to be spiritually attuned, spiritually robust, spiritually always advancing towards some higher ideal.

While these efforts display the best of intentions, they are not always aligned with God’s ways. Deuteronomy 30:11-14 and Paul’s reprise of this text in Romans 10:5-9 point to another dynamic of God’s ways with us human beings. Even as we strain and struggle to obtain and retain God’s Word, the truth of the matter is that this Word is already so near to us that it is within us—in our mouths and on our hearts. It is gift. It is given in trust and always to be trusted.

So relax. Release.

Listen for the Word. Give ear to the rushing waters of baptism that continue to surround you. Listen for the resurrection.

This is your life.

A Word
B Let those who have ears
C do you have ears?
B let them listen
A Listen

A And God said
B God speaks
God speaks the Word
C In the beginning was the Word
A Word from the beginning
C hovering over the depths deep calling to deep
B Word of all worlds
A through whom the world was made
C the light of all people shining in the darkness
A the Word
C full of grace and truth

B Moses
A who first heard God’s word at the burning bush after many years of desert wandering
B summoned all the Israelites and said to them
C What is asked of you is not too hard for you or beyond your reach
Do not say in your hearts
A The word is far away
too far away to reach
too long a journey
C The Word is not in heaven
that you need say
A Who will go up to Heaven for us
to get the Word
so that we may hear the Wordand observe it?

C Again
Do not say in your hearts
A The Word is far away
Who will cross to the other side of the sea
Who will abandon safety and the shoreline
B Who will descend into the abyss for us
to get the Word
so that we might hear the Word
and observe it?

C No
A These are not the questions
C No
B Do not be deceived
C For the Word is near you in your heart and in your mouth
A so near
B it is already in your mouth already in your heart
C in your breath and in your blood
B you cannot escape it

B It pulses with your every heart-beat
A so near
B it moves with your every breath
C so near
B it vibrates with every word you speak
A so near
B it soars with every song you sing
A so near

C You hear
A because you were created in the Word—the Word of God
B so near you
C through whom all things are made
A because you were created
C created in the Word
A It cannot be taken from you
B so very near you

C Yes
A You need not search it out
B It searches you the light that enlightens all peoples
A No planning
No long distance travel
C The word is near you
B so very near you

A It is not what you see
It is not what you think
It is not what you feel
B It is what is given you to hear
A Faith comes by hearing
C ah yes
A the Word of God in your mouth
C ah yes
A and what is heard
B comes through the Word
C of Christ (Rom. 10:17)
B that dwells in you so richly (Col. 3:16)

A Do not be among those who look and look and do not see
C who listen and listen and do not hear

A Catch the word as it flies by you
B gentle breath
A catch it as it rests upon your forehead
C sweet slow whisper
A catch it as it pounds upon your chest
B heavy hammer
A catch it as it cuts between
C a two-edged sword
A cuts between life and death

B Listen for the Word
C Listen for the Word
A Listen for the Word
C the Word so near you
B And speak the words that gird your heart that sound your soul
A sweet deep echo
C the Word so very near you

A Have you heard the Word— the Word of God?
C the word
A heard and unheard vibrating out through all time
B It is not beyond you in the heavens
C nor lost in the depths
A No
B It is near you so utterly near you
C already in your mouth already in your heart
A in your breath and in your blood
B You cannot escape it
C It is your life

A Word

(Presentation time: 4½ minutes)