How is that we have the scriptures written in so many languages, yet some of us (me included) are so benign in our faith & witness? How is it that those who don't have the luxury of literacy or finances to possess sacred scrolls or books seem more likely to see more signs & wonders? What would have happened if each person in the pre-Gutenberg era had been able to read the Bible as we know it today? Might they have obtained the same kind of connection with their creator? Or would they have become like us?
And who is "us?"
We are the modern American church, fat with "scripture", so much so that we can't even move ourselves, let alone let the Spirit move us. We are morbidly obese... filling up on "the word", singing our songs & going to our bible studies with our friends. Maybe we busy ourselves with "God's work", prayer meetings, outreaches, community involvement... But have we ever left the comfort of our "christianity"? And what would that even mean or look like in the real world?
It seems some of us live in a kind of fantasy world, holding on to our scriptures as if they were a magic carpet with the power to take us anywhere we want to go. "Magic carpet, help us achieve whatever it is we need (or want), all for the glory of God of course!" Perhaps we believe we are impervious to scrutiny, above reproach... Justified, sanctified & oh yes, forgiven. We're safe to do whatever we want as long as we're firmly seated, holding on to the fringy corners, leaning into the turns. But merely owning a Bible, reading it or even speaking the words outloud will not protect us, make us holy or bring us closer to the living God.
To the casual observer, the Bible is the stuff of legends. There are heroes & villians, victories & failures. There is life & death, faithfulness, betrayal... There is hope & hope deferred. Its a book of heritage. And like a tattered family album passed down through generations, some pull it out for the sake of nostalgia & put it back on the shelf when they're done. For some, the bible is mere fiction... not to be taken too seriously. For others, the Bible is bread & water.
But listen to the words of Jesus. He said, “I am the Bread of Life. Whoever comes to Me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in Me will never be thirsty". John 6:35 NIV
He also said: "You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about Me, yet you refuse to come to Me to have life". John 5:39-40 NIV
Are we believing in the power of scripture or the power of Christ to move us? What's the difference?
More next time...