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 the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
—Collect for Proper 28C
I’ve always really liked the collect appointed for this Sunday. The more I study the Bible, the more it rings true. It summarizes in a brief prayer how we see the Scriptures forming us to be people of hope in a world that too easily calls us to despair. The Anglican tradition honors the power of our reason and our long tradition to serve alongside of the power of Scripture to form a sturdy foundation of all of our faith practice. Many of us grew up in confirmation class calling this the three-legged stool of Scripture, Tradition, and Reason. Some prefer a tricycle image with Scripture being the larger wheel. Whether stool or tricycle, the reality is we take Scripture very seriously as a source of our faith. But we also do not assume it is a simple book of prescriptions; we cannot just turn to the correct page to find our way out of a bind. We assume it is worthy of deep and regular engagement. Often we find it is best studied in a group.
I’m blessed to gather with small groups of you twice a week as we engage in the communal study of Scripture. We deeply engage these texts, and I always walk away with a new insight. Some of the people I have the privilege of studying with have been literally marking their Bible up for years. We often get a note from a previous study that illuminates how we are hearing it in our present circumstance.
To inwardly digest Scripture is to turn ourselves over to the life of the Spirit. When it has truly formed and transformed us, then we are chewing it sacramentally. The same way we experience the presence of Christ in the consecrated bread and wine, we can experience the life-giving power of Scripture to set us free to serve one another and to become more Christlike.
This Sunday we will offer our pledges of financial support during the worship services. It is important to think about our giving the same way we think about all we do in community. Pledging is way to engage in gratitude for all the ways in which the Spirit has moved in our life and continues to move in this community. We create space for God and are rewarded with a hope that sustains us. I hope you will participate in the liturgical offering of your pledge, and then join us at the parish meeting at 10:10 am. We will meet in Gish Hall to give thanks for the past year, look to the future, and affirm the slate of our next leaders to serve on the vestry. To gather as the Body of Christ is a reminder that we need one another to continue to be formed as disciples. Join us!