Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord God, when I will send a famine on the land — not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord. (Amos 8:11)
I spoke at my parents’ church in Peterborough this weekend. They are members of the United Church of Canada, a “liberal” denomination.
Generally speaking, preaching sermons doesn’t make you popular. But I love to preach in my parents’ church because the congregation responds to clear biblical teaching with extraordinary enthusiasm.
It’s sad to think that people who faithfully attend church could be famished for God’s word. But that has consistently been my experience in this church, and I’ve been speaking there once a year for ten years or so.
Is it because the denomination is liberal? I’m sure it’s a factor. The last couple of ministers at this church have been good at pastoral care, but my Dad admits they don’t provide much of a sermon.
I think many “conservative” churches are also famished for God’s word, more than they realize. The word has been domesticated: they are exposed to it all the time, but in a form that induces apathy. That’s just my opinion, of course, although it does remind me of a Keith Green song, Asleep In the Light.
I’m an unlikely candidate to fix what ails the Church. To be corrected by me is akin to a rebuke from Balaam’s ass. But I think Amos’s prophecy is applicable in our generation: in an era when Bibles are mass produced, there is a famine of hearing the words of the Lord.