we had a wonderful ash wednesday service last night with our students. i was moved and impressed with how focused they were. maybe they fooled me and they were just texting in silence the whole time, but i was honestly moved. it's pretty deep and amazingly moving to look someone in the eyes and tell them, "remember you are dust, and to dust you will return. repent and believe the Gospel."
remember you are dust.
you are dust.
the reality of death is gripping. we live in a culture that fears death and tries to defeat death. little does our culture know, death has been swallowed up. where, o death, is your sting?
what's the purpose of the Bible? what is the overall theme of the Bible? is there one?
i like how one of the pastors i work with says it: "the Bible is the story of God's relentless pursuit of us." how true!
in the Blue Parakeet, McKnight talks about the Story in 5 parts [and no, he's not crazy exclusive about this!].
1) Oneness - creation
2) Otherness - sin
3) Otherness expands - sin expands!
4) One in Christ - redemption
5) Perfectly One - consummation
there is a Story in the Bible, and sometimes we forget that it is a BIG story. the Bible isn't about grabbing a verse here and there to make ourselves feel better on a particular day. the Bible isn't focused on making us feel good. the Bible is about us locating ourselves in the Story. it's about helping us come into contact with the God who pursues us.
McKnight says, "God's idea of redemption is community-shaped."
is our idea of redemption and, therefore, our reading of the Bible too narrow? have we made it all about us? we have a scary tendency to do just that - to make everything about us. let me tell you, in working with students and in my own life, the desire to make everything about me is there. but the Bible is about the Story; it's about the BIG picture.
great read. Scot McKnight's, the Blue Parakeet: Rethinking How You Read the Bible.
"God did not give the Bible so we could master him or it; God gave the Bible so we could live it, so we could be mastered by it. The moment we think we've mastered it; we have failed to be readersof the Bible..."
amen! are we honest in how we approach the Bible and what baggage we bring? are we honest about our "picking and choosing"?
how can we develp a consistent hermeneutic? do we read to master the text or be mastered by God's Word?
really? well. it's in the Bible. must be true! what a thought! the way we treat the poor, or those in need, is a direct reflection on how we relate to God.
in fact, those who oppress the poor INSULT God. those who help the poor HONOR God.
can it be any easier than that? it's plain. in the relationships between God and neighbor, how we relate to our neighbor is a direct reflection on how we really feel about God. and this is why Paul is able to say that fulfilling the command to love our neighbors as ourselves fulfills all the commands of the Law and the prophets.
loving your neighbor = loving God and vice versa...