Jeremiah calls us to fear God, pointing out that Israel does not tremble before Him. Isaiah says God looks with favor on those who tremble at His Word. Our liturgical housekeeping is up to the Scripture reading, which I am convinced is the most important thing that happens in the worship service. More important than communion, more than the sermon, is hearing and receiving God’s Word with open heart. In many churches today, you can go through a whole service with only a few verses read. We read a lot of Scripture on purpose. We stand to show the importance of what we are hearing. Like many other churches, we conclude the reading by saying, “The Word of the Lord” “Thanks be to God.” This is a helpful custom that reminds us of the importance of what we just heard, and that cultivates gratitude in us for having the Bible available to hear and read in English.
God sent John the Baptist to speak God’s Words to prepare God’s people for the advent, the coming of Jesus. Some listened. Some did not. Ignoring someone who is talking to you is highly disrespectful. Doing other things while they speak to you is also rude. How much more so when God is speaking to us. Our attitude to God’s Word says much for whether we fear Him or take Him lightly.