THE GRASS WITHERS, THE FLOWER
BUT THE WORD...
by Margot Starbuck Hausmann
“It’s really the low point of the service.”
This recent comment by a colleague about the reading of Scripture in
worship, with reference to many congregations but none in particular,
lingered in my mind. Of course I had to admit she was right. Although most
liturgists effectively articulate and pronounce the inked words printed on
the page, many do so with little exegetical or interpretive forethought.
In fact, worship might actually become more engaging if these liturgists
actually did mispronounce a word or two.
Sunday morning, June 9, my husband, Peter, concluded his sermon by
exhorting folks to prayerfully consider the way God was calling and
equipping each one to do the work of the kingdom. The invitation was
followed with a time of silence for personal reflection. Graciously, with
sudden conviction, the Lord spoke to my heart about the exciting
possibility of equipping laypeople and clergy to bear the word faithfully,
specifically by training liturgists to speak the written word in worship
with imaginative energy and integrity. In that moment of prayer, literally
just a few short seconds, my mind flooded, imagining what I’d need to
engage in such an undertaking. At the top of that list, of course, would
be to email R.J. for resources.
An hour later, as I was passing through my husband’s office, he turned
toward me from his computer screen. “I’ve got some bad news,” he said. Bad
for us. For me. For the church. R.J. was with the Lord. Good news for him.
Just as the last eight years of my life and ministry have been indelibly
marked by the wise and gentle teaching of Robert Jacks, I am convinced
that the impact of his life’s passion will continue to ripple through
every sermon I will ever preach. Every class I will teach. Every talk I
will deliver. The word born on these imperfect lips will be taken up in
fresh ways into the hearts and imaginations of the people God loves
because of Robert Jacks, faithful servant of Jesus Christ. I am one.
Fellow students who have been influenced by the ministry of Dr. Jacks are
many. The precious lives of those who will hear and believe the gospel as
a result are innumerable. Thanks be to God!
Margot Starbuck Hausmann, Class of 1995, is a member of the Presbytery of
New Hope, where she supplies pulpits and leads retreats while shepherding
her children Zoe (4) and Rolly (2). Her husband, Peter, Class of 1995, is
copastor of Blacknall Memorial Presbyterian Church in Durham, North