Without The Sacraments, The Internal Self Devours The Word

"Without the sacraments, the words go inside of us. They become an internal matter. As we like to say, we 'internalize' the words. Once inside we begin to wonder what happened to them. We have an incurable tendency to feed on our own innards. We begin to wonder whether we really have taken the words seriously, whether we are really sincere, or perhaps whether we really have accepted Jesus as our 'personal Savior,' whatever that is supposed to mean. I may hear the words 'Your sins are forgiven, ' but then wonder whether it could be really me that is meant or whether it is even relevant to my needs. We become a prey to adverbial theology. Do we really, sincerely, truly, personally, believe? Do we live abundantly, joyously, affirmatively? Do we think positively, praise gratefully, respond generously? What do I do if I just do not see all those marvelous things happening that the preacher is always on about? I get caught in the marvelous hot-air balloon syndrome, dragged along in a game I can only lose. The self is a bottomless pit, a black hole, endlessly sucking everything within and crushing it. The internal self constantly defeats and swallows up the words."

 -Gerhard Forde (Theology is for Proclamation)

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