Tales of adventure, deception and redemption; histories of kings and battles; paradoxes and parables; struggles and joys in a new community; poetry and all of it part of a deep love story. This is the gift our ancestors gave us in writing down their story as a people and community in relationship to God continues to speak to us, drawing us ever closer to Godself and to living together on this earth with love and neighbor and all creation. This is the Bible. To some daunting, to some beloved guide, it is our story.
The late Rachel Held Evans wrote in her last book, Inspired:
Dignified or not, believable or not, ours is a God perpetually on bended knee, doing everything it takes to convince stubborn and petulant children that they are seen and loved. It is no more beneath God to speak to us using poetry, proverb, letters, and legend than it is for a mother to read storybooks to her daughter at bedtime. This is who God is. This is what God does.
The Bible is Living Word through which we encounter God individually and in community, this latter so important. In the Bible we seek the truth together. The Bible “study” deepest to my heart is a wrestling and striving together to meet God at God’s deepest truth. Even when I read the Bible on my own, I seek out the communion of saints in earlier or present commentaries in books, blogs and regular conversations.
Each Thursday morning at Christ Church, we come together to grope for the truth, if you will, to seek, search, debate, question and wrestle with it as Jacob wrestled with God. The Gropers was the informal name of a favorite Bible study I facilitated. This name came from Paul in Acts 17: 26-27.
He made from one the whole human race to dwell on the entire surface of the earth, and he fixed the ordered seasons and the boundaries of their regions, so that people might seek God, even perhaps grope for him and find him, though indeed he is not far from any one of us.
I invite each of you to join me this Lent and possibly beyond to seek, wrestle and read together Rachel’s book, Inspired. I propose gathering in person Sundays at 11:45 or Thursdays at 7 or in an online group via Zoom, exact time to be determined. Please read, join in, and seek together encountering the Living Word and Evans’s journey with it.
Evans wrestles with scripture, reads and explores through doubt, imagining, re-imagining and debating Scripture. The Bible, she discovers, is not a static work but is a living, breathing, captivating, and confounding book that is able to equip us to join God’s loving and redemptive work in the world.*
*with thanks to Goodreads blurb