"O Word of God incarnate, O wisdom from on high, O Truth unchanged, unchanging, O Light of our dark sky; We praise You for the radiance, That from the hallowed page, A lantern to our footsteps, Shines on from age to age.
"O make Your church, dear Savior, A lamp of burnished gold, To bear before the nations, Your true light as of old! O teach Your wand'ring pilgrims, By this their path to trace, Till, clouds and darkness ended, They see You face-to-face!"
In our hymn we praise the Word (see John 1:1-5, 14) for the gift of His Word. We give thanks to the Truth for the truth He has revealed to us. We glorify the Light of the world for light of sacred Scripture that guides our way. Jesus is the "Word of God incarnate" who, for the sake of our salvation, took on human flesh. Jesus told His disciples that the Holy Spirit would bring to their remembrance all that Jesus taught them. Those remembered words were written down so that you may believe "that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His Name" (John 20:31b). The testimony of the written Word bears witness to the incarnate, crucified, and risen Word.
Jesus said, "If you abide in My Word, you are truly My disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free" (John 8:31b-32). Jesus Himself is the Truth revealed in the Word, and through faith in His Name, we are set free from sin and death. Jesus called Himself the Light of the world, promising, "Whoever follows Me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life" (John 8:12b). Even as we follow Jesus, our steps may carry us through dark and troubling circumstances, but His Word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path (see Psalm 119:105).
We are the church, the body of Christ. We have His Word and know its truth; we walk in its light. We shine as lights in the world, proclaiming the truth in a world that often refuses to acknowledge any absolute truth. Yet, still we scatter the seed of the Word, the good news of Christ crucified and risen, trusting that the Spirit, who is at work in the Word, will cause the seed to take root.
For now, we walk by faith and not by sight. We have the witness of the Word until the day comes when we will see Jesus, the Word made flesh, face-to-face. For now we cling to the truth revealed in Holy Scripture—"the hallowed page"—until all is finally fulfilled in paradise. We walk in the light of Jesus, His Word guiding our steps, until we live in His shining presence. There we will need no light or lamp because night will be no more, and the Lord God will be our light forever.
THE PRAYER: Jesus, Incarnate Word, bless the hearing and study of Your Word among us. Lead us to grow confident in faith and bold in witness as we walk in Your light. Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler. It is based on the hymn, "O Word of God Incarnate," which is found on page 523 of the Lutheran Service Book.
1. What are some ways the church could improve its service to the world and those in need?
2. Do you know churches that are particularly strong in certain areas of ministry—to the homeless? To prisoners? To the elderly? To singles or widows/widowers?
3. How do you "abide" in Jesus' Word?
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