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Ann Naffziger Answers:
Question: In the Old Testament, God actually spoke or communicated with people. Why has he stopped?
The United Church of Christ has a campaign adamantly reminding anyone who will listen, “Never place a period where God has placed a comma. God is still speaking.” Given the lack of Old Testament prophets around to proclaim “Thus says the Lord your God…” the challenge for us is to discern how God is still communicating with us now.
The writers of the New Testament insisted that God was communicating, primarily through the words and actions of Jesus. Since then, it has fallen to those who pray and study the Bible to tease out how the words of Scripture continue to speak God’s word to us today. There are still prophets among us, but they are more likely surrounding you as friends or co-workers, a spouse, strangers on the bus, or neighbors. Anyone who challenges us to live like Jesus, who calls us to accountability for hurtful actions, or encourages, consoles, and strengthens us as Jesus did in the gospels can be perceived as God communicating with us. On the other hand, they may be larger figures like Martin Luther King, Jr., Dorothy Day, or Pope Francis reminding us of God’s/Jesus’ words in their writings, speeches, and homilies. When we feel our hearts stirred, or “burning within us” like those two disciples on the road to Emmaus, we can trust that God is still communicating.