The Gift of Scripture
Updated: Nov 20
Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and theHoly Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
-Collect for Proper 28
I didn’t grow up in a tradition that typically emphasized scripture. In some ways that has ended up being a gift. When I was older and began seriously engaging and studying thescripture, I didn’t carry any particular baggage around how one should hear them. My first two years of the Education for Ministry program were by far the most time I’d spent in serious study and even in seminary there were still times I felt woefully ignorant. My worst nightmare was that someone would approach me and ask me to quote chapter and verse under pressure. Frankly, I still can’t do that, but I’m much more comfortable with it than I used to be. It turns out that looking things up is not a failing, and having a conversation that seriously wrestles with the meaning of a difficult text is a great gift of my vocation.
The above collect is one which seriously invites and encourages us to engage in scripture. Not to memorize it all, not to use it as a prescription book, but to hear, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest it. We are invited to bring our full selves to scripture, not because it is easy, but because the very nature of the engagement will change us. To learn from this engagement is to honestly engage in these holy texts so we can learn more about thepeople of God from long ago and imagine how we are still shaped by those narratives. We will not hear them the same way the people of the first century did, nor should we. TheHoly Spirit is alive and encouraging us to continually listen to God’s deep invitation to grow our discipleship and love of God and our neighbor.
The Renewal Works committee has been hard at work, absorbing the results from our Spiritual Life Inventory from earlier this fall. They are listening deeply to what God might be calling forth from us as we seek to answer God’s call to us in this time and place. We are listening deeply to those practices which allow congregations to thrive and be faithful. One of those practices is embedding scripture in all that we do. This collect affirms this is a key way that we understand ourselves as Episcopalians. We hear multiple lessons in scripture each week as we worship. The prayerbook itself is full of scripture as we offer our common prayer. We have multiple opportunities each week to hear, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest this precious resource.
What is your relationship to scripture? Do you want to know more? Join us as we engage with it faithfully. It may surprise you to see just what an important foundation it can add to your faith journey.