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January 29, 2015, 2:38 PM

Connecting the Bible with Current Experience

“For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, so that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope.” Romans 15.4

What do you believe about the Bible?  We call the collection of writings that comprise the Bible, the “Holy Scriptures.”  What makes them holy? Among Christians, there is quite a range of belief about the origin and authority of the Bible.  Do you believe that is was written by God – possibly by divine inspiration or dictation?  Or do you believe that scripture was written by humans – many people over many years and for many purposes?  And what do you believe about the authority of the Bible? What gives it authority? And what kind of authority does it have for our lives today? Whatever your view of scripture; it is central to our faith as individuals and as a community.  It is the only way modern followers of Jesus can meet him and be introduced to his “Way,” and become his followers.

Christian scripture includes books from the Hebrew tradition as well as New Testament stories of Jesus and the early church – in fact, four fifths our Bible is the Jewish Bible or “Tanak.”  At the heart of the worshiping life of any congregation is the constant beat of scripture. We hear scripture read and preached. Yet the Bible in worship is more than a sermon. Our prayers, our songs, the forgiveness we declare and the commitments we make are formed by scripture. In worship, when we share bread at communion or pass through the waters of baptism, we enter ancient stories. The ancient scriptures become new, as God acts afresh in our lives.  Pastor John Robinson sent off our Pilgrim ancestors in faith with the words, "I Charge you before God and his blessed angels that you follow me no further than you have seen me follow Christ. If God reveal anything to you by any other instrument of His, be as ready to receive it as you were to receive any truth from my ministry, for I am verily persuaded the Lord hath more truth and light yet to break forth from His holy word.”

As the season of Lent starts this month, we also start a month-long focus on the faith practice that our curriculum calls “Encountering Scripture.”  To paraphrase pastor Robinson: each generation of Christians encounters and interprets the ancient scriptures in a new context.  Modern biblical scholarship, and the rapid social and technological change of our time and place produce new understandings of the Bible as we ask new questions of it. 

Like the Koran, throughout its history, the Bible has been used by some to judge, condemn, and justify violence.  We have a responsibly and a calling in our time to heed Jesus’ call to reconciliation and healing; to replace fear, distrust, and disempowerment with confidence, empowerment, and love. 

            Scripture is our family story, holding us together in a community of faith.  Through Lent this year, we will encounter our family stories in a variety of ways.  Scripture is accessible to all—those who have been reading the Bible for years and those opening it for the first time. Wherever we are on life’s journey, the Bible can connect with our experience.

            Join us in worship this month.  Come with us on a journey of discovery this Lenten season.  Bring your daily life to encounter scripture.

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