Wednesday, August 30, 2017
Scripture Window Part 5
Rewind and review ~ Scripture is like a window...we gaze through and see beyond to an ancient world and we our world still today and we can even see our own reflection. Scriptural window has four window panes (head, heart, soul, and story). The head window pane is one that asks good questions (lots of questions) and offers our own insights.
But Scripture isn't just some head trip or intellectual exercise. One of the places the Enlightenment led us on a rabbit chase is thinking that we could proof Scripture. That if we just rationally and reasonably held Scripture, it would all make sense at some point. Most stories don't work on one level, and that is certainly true of Scripture. So, we need the second window pane, the one of heart.
While for our Jewish ancestors, the heart was the seat of reason and where all important decisions were made; in the world today, heart is the seat of emotions. Emotions are important. We need to listen and learn from our emotions. I was raised in the Midwest where we were taught to keep a stiff upper lip...that life was unfair and it didn't help harvest the corn whining about it. But trying to stifle or shut down our emotions limits the ways God's light can shine through the window of Scripture. We need to pay attention to emotions...especially with Scripture, because, like all good stories, Scripture wants a response.
Sometimes Scripture causes us to laugh...like when Jonah after preaching the worst sermon the Ninevites (really, check it out in Jonah 3:4...it is an eight word sermon) and it actually works. People repent. And you would think Jonah would be happy, but he goes and pouts. And still God seeks him out. I think if you read Jonah without laughing out loud, go back and re-read...or come talk to me. It is hilarious.
Sometimes Scripture makes us mad...like Paul's bias on women and sexuality...seriously that guy had some issues that have become imprinted in our Bible.
Sometimes Scripture confuses or confounds or complicates things.
Sometimes Scripture just leaves us feeling, "Meh"..."Whatever".
So, let's return to our example...Exodus 3
Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; he led his flock beyond the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush; he looked, and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed. Then Moses said, “I must turn aside and look at this great sight, and see why the bush is not burned up.” When the Lord saw that he had turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then he said, “Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” He said further, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.
When I step closer to the heart window pane...I am trying to see not only my own reactions/response emotionally...but also the emotion in the passage.
Maybe I hear Moses' fear when he whispers softly and uncertainly..."Here...I?? am??" As if to say, "I am here, but I really thought this was just going to be an ordinary Tuesday and now God is here, that totally freaks me out.
Maybe I hear Moses' puff out and pound his chest and say, "Here I am!" Like when some ancient cave man proclaimed, "I have built fire" with pride.
Or maybe this passage just leaves you scratching your head, confused, like "Why is God coming in a bush...why not a cactus or cloud or chariot?
There are emotions of amazing and wonder...as if the whole world was alive with God...and when do I walk past burning bushes unaware and unfazed. There are emotions of wanting to listen deeper and see clearer.
If we let the passage sit upon our heart, engaging us deeper, eventually our heart starts to offer a response. You see, the intellect/head response is the one that comes natural and normal and first. We love to dissect a text, reduce it down to its parts, like disassembling a bicycle. But then, there is the moment we see all the pieces and wonder if we can put it all back together? To let Scripture speak and sing to your heart is to listen/engage/encounter in another way. So, after the brain takes a break from the passage, keep staring to see if your heart might want to get a word in edgewise.
May that help all of us dive and dwell in Scripture in a way that offers grace and peace to us.