April 29, 2015 – More thoughts on the Bible

-by Rev. Jeff Gannon

Some of the things I didn’t get to in my sermon….

A main point…the Bible is a means by which we encounter the living God. The Bible is not the object of our worship. The Bible can be an idol. We call it bibliolatry. The Bible is a means not an end or it will become an idol.

Another main point…when reading the Bible, the goal is not to get through Scripture as though we get “brownie points” for reading the whole Bible through 20 times in our lifetime. The goal is to get Scripture through us. There is a Roman Catholic nun named Joan Chittister who says she has one goal every day. She takes one sentence of Scripture and meditates on it all day long. Our episcopal leader, Bishop Scott Jones, takes the same passage of Scripture and reads it every day for a year and reflects on it for the whole year. This year, he is reflecting on the Parable of the Good Samaritan. The value of this practice is it produces deeper connections in the soul. Just as a gentle, continuous rain produces a soaking effect, the same is true for Scripture. My lawn guy tells me it is better to program the sprinkler system for fewer watering’s each week but longer duration so it produces deeper roots and therefore protects the grass from the dangers of drought. This is a universal principle for how everything works!

Another invitation….please start reading a Psalm a day. Begin with Psalm 1. Read it slowly and take notes on how God speaks to you. First, invite God to speak. Secondly, as you are reading, simply read it as if you were speaking it. Let the words of the Psalmist become your words. The Psalms do not tell us what we want to hear necessary but they express what we want to say. They are very in touch with the deepest of human emotion.

Also, I want to encourage you to begin reading the Gospel of Mark with one purpose. Every time Jesus does something that surprises you…write it down. It will surprise you how surprising Jesus really is!

I talked about A.J. Jacobs, the man who wrote the book, “The Year of Living Biblically…One Man’s Quest for Bodily Perfection.”

He learned 6 lessons that are worth hearing…

  1. Take the Bible seriously but don’t take everything in the Bible literally
  2. Reading and living the Bible taught me gratitude for everything – especially the little things that make a big difference.
  3. Reverence – “I started this project as an agnostic and ended the project with a deep sense of reverence and awe for those who love God and the things that are of God”.
  4. Don’t disregard what seems to be irrational – rituals and symbols are by nature irrational behaviors. Tradition is good and important!
  5. Everybody, if they’re honest, picks and chooses what they focus on in the Bible. [Jeff’s comment…that’s why context, culture, and Christ Jesus are essential when it comes to interpretation.]

Next week…to be continued…I will talk about the Wesleyan Quadrilateral and why that is such a helpful tool for discerning God’s will and God’s ways.

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