Harpo Speaks! Is an autobiography by Harpo Marx. I have never read the book, but I have always loved the title. [Here is a brief YouTube clip that gives a short summary. BE WARNED there is some adult language at the end of the clip when Harpo speaks at about the 1:00 minute mark. Clip.]
Sometimes I think God is like the on screen character Harpo, never saying a word, sometimes honking a horn, playing the harp beautifully, or just doing something totally off the wall. However, God speaks.
In the past, God spoke to our forefathers by the prophets at many times and in many ways. In these last days, he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact imprint of the divine nature. He sustains all things by his powerful word. From <https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Hebrews+1&version=EHV>
The question is how do I hear Jesus speak and what is he saying? What he is saying is the easy part… Forgiveness of sins, life and salvation for you, now. The “how”, that is the more interesting question. The quick and easy answer comes from Matthew 18:20, “In fact where two or three have gathered together in my name, there I am among them.” People gathered together, a congregation.
Is this a plea to get you to church on Sunday? There you will hear God speaking. What if someone watches the service live online? There you will hear God speaking. What if I watch only the sermon Tuesday before I go to sleep? There you will hear God speaking. What if I read “The Family Table” devotions? There you roll the dice and take your chances… clip
In the Divine Service, Jesus speaks. Absolution, the Scripture Readings, the Sermon, The Lord’s Table, the Benediction: all are Jesus speaking forgiveness, life, and salvation; all equal in delivering the promises Christ is speaking. The more you are engaged in listening, the more you understand the speaker. If it is only Jesus speaking to you, you could do it alone or online, if not for that pesky Matthew 18:20 verse.
It is not only what Jesus speaks to you, it is what Jesus speaks through you. A kind greeting or welcoming word to another who is gathered. A nodding approval (or disapproval) during the sermon. A sympathetic ear, an offered prayer. Forgiveness, life, and salvation. Two or more gathered… Because of the Word made flesh, we get to participate in that conversation. Go, gather, baptize, and teach; Jesus is with you and speaks! (Matthew 28:19-20)
Say the secret word and the duck comes down.