Chewing on Scripture
The other day a member of our congregation joked that he didn't need to know the Bible because Episcopalians have the Book of Common Prayer. While that comment was made tongue in cheek, it also has some truth to it. Those of us in liturgical traditions tend to focus our spiritual lives in communal celebrations like the Eucharist or Evensong. Often, if we have personal prayer times, they may also be based in the liturgy of the prayer book. All that is great. The downside is that we place less of a priority on learning the foundational texts of our faith, the Holy Scriptures, on which our Book of Common Prayer itself is based.
Having a solid mature knowledge of Scripture helps us see the whole unified story of the Bible and our place within that story. Reading and studying the Bible can open us up to the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. As we encounter challenging ideas or stories that make us think and reflect, we have the opportunity to be transformed into the person God invites us to become.
The monastic tradition asks us to "ruminate" on the Scriptures, that very earthy word suggests that we chew and digest the Bible as a cow chews its cud -- spending time trying to understand what God might be inviting us to be or to do in response to what we read. That's why it’s also important to engage in communal Bible study. We learn from each other as together we do the work of trying to interpret what the Scriptures might be saying to us.
At St. Johns this summer we have an opportunity to come together to study a particular text of the Bible -- the Letter to the Colossians. This short Letter attributed to St. Paul is jam packed with challenging and inspiring ideas about who Jesus is, what that means for us, and how we then change our lives in response. Our Adult Vacation Bible School starts this week. We heartily encourage you to improve your Bible literacy, take a journey to the ancient city of Colossae with your fellow St. John's pilgrims, and meet the Lord who even today speaks to us through the pages of this powerful book.
(Editor's note: There is also the opportunity for young adults to attend Bible study every 2nd Tuesday after evening prayer! -Victor)