Pastor’s ponderings

About a month or so ago, I stumbled across a news report which carried the following headline, “Argument over Bible verses leads to strangulation, murder charge.”  Yes, you read that correctly, two people were arguing about something that was written in the Bible, which ultimately led to one man killing the other.  Now, the story didn’t go into much detail as to what verse they were debating, or who was on what side, but the reality is – does any of that really matter?  Someone took someone else’s life because the other person did not agree with what they thought the Bible said.  Is this really where we have come to?  Is this really how Bible-reading believers are called to act?  Is this how the living Word is embodied on earth today?

            Now, as a seminary student, I spend a lot of time reading the Bible, and listening to professors say “this is the way that you are supposed to read it…”  Yet, one of the things that I learned early in my seminary journey is that these other ways of thinking are extremely beneficial to our faith journey.  Certainly they can challenge our years of thinking one way, but that challenge does one of two things: it either opens us up to new possibilities that we had not considered before or it strengthens our own position in the long run.  Now, throughout these past couple of years, I have seen this happen over and over again, in seminary and in church.

            One of the blessings of the Bible studies we have on our Parish is that the attendees all come from a variety of backgrounds and perspectives.  At one of the studies the people in attendance came from at least five different Christian denominations, all with their own traditions and interpretations of Scripture.  Yet, the real beauty occurs when all of these thoughts come together at the same time, in the same place.  It is then that we really feel the Holy Spirit moving us to the truth of The Word incarnate – Jesus.  Never, in any study that I have attended, have we ever got anywhere close to the events of the news story above.  Instead, the Spirit has so moved in our midst that even when confronted with a differing insight, we all are able to receive it and discern what it means for our own faith journey.

            I pray that you all have a group such as these, for it is when we are gathered together that we truly can understand the Word.  It was never meant to be read alone, on an island, all by ourselves.  Remember, much of the New Testament was letters to whole churches, not private correspondence!

                                                                        Pastor Steve

[Jesus said,] “You have your heads in your Bibles constantly

because you think you’ll find eternal life there.

But you miss the forest for the trees.

These Scriptures are all about me!

And here I am, standing right before you,

and you aren’t willing to receive from me the life you say you want.”

(John 5:39-40, MSG).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *