Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Scripture Windows

 Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone.  You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.  Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart.  Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise.  Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead,  and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.  Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Take a moment and look out the nearest window.  What do you see?  Maybe trees or grass.  Maybe people passing by.  Maybe a brilliant brilliant blue sky or ominous gray clouds congregating with rain drops splattering and splashing.

Step closer to the window...do you see a slight reflection of yourself staring back?  Maybe as you've gotten closer you've seen a detail you missed before.  A dragonfly whizzing past or a tiny ant scurrying across the ground or a bird out on the tree branch observing the world...just as you are.

What if Scripture was a window.  One that helps us see the distance, the details, and our very selves?  What if Scripture is a window into the world then and there, as well as here and now, as well as deep into our very souls.

Jesus quotes the Shema, Deuteronomy 6, above.  While it is a prayerful vision of our lives and words meant to be said every day until they seeped into our souls.  More importantly, they might provide a framework for reading Scripture.  Just as a window can be divided into four frames, the passage above invites us to see four quadrants we want to gaze through as we engage and encounter scripture. There is the window pane of head.  Another frame of heart.  Another that helps us see the words of scripture through a deeper, soul level.  And finally, there is the frame of our story, how does our whole life connect to the words of scripture we are reading.

Head...intellectual.
Heart...feelings, emotions, something deeper.
Soul...when the deep within us connects to the deep within God.
Story...that these words might speak to our very lives.

We are really good when reading Scripture at the head stuff.  Give us information about how ancient people affixed these words to door posts.  Tell us how many times a faithful Jewish person would pray this.  "Interesting," we say, as we stroke our chins thoughtfully.  But information rarely leads to transformation.  Ask any doctor who encourages her patient to quit smoking or lose weight.  We can tell each other all sorts of facts, but that doesn't mean that it offers meanings.  So, we need more than commentary.  We need something that stirs our heart and soul.  And, I believe we need to stop holding Scripture at arms length and step closer to the window.  Risk seeing ourselves in these words.

When Abraham and Sarah are called to pack all their things for an undisclosed location to connect to that time in 6th grade I moved and didn't know a soul.

When Moses stands before a bush afire that isn't consumed, holy ground. Do I see the burning bushes all around me.

When Miriam dances, Ruth faithfully follows her mother-in-law to a new place, and Mary shallows deeply to be the God-bearer in this world.

Scripture isn't just some tiny words on razor thin pages.  Scripture is a story with heart, soul, head and can speak to our story today.

Take a moment, dust off your Bible...we are about to begin a Mary like adventure of seeing how these ancient words still call to us to be God-bearers today.

So let's step close to Scripture windows to see, hear, experience more than a trace of God's grace.

Blessings, peace, and grace ~

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