Winter 2003
Volume 7 Number 2

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Giving Words to the Story introduction| Verily, a Servant of the Living Word | The Grass Withers, the Flower Fades; but the Word… | An Inner Light | Remembering


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 Carolina.


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