Meeting Times at 4th United Presbyterian Church

Cafe' Worship: 9:15 a.m. each Sunday in Gathering Hall (activities provided for children; coffee; snacks)
Adult Sunday School: 10 a.m.

Sunday Worship: 11 a.m.

Bible Study: each Thursday at 6 p.m.

Community Forum: last Thursday of each month at 6 p.m. with meal (no community forum in November, 2011)

About the 4th United Presbyterian Bible Blog

Posts on this blog are from me, Rev. George H. Waters, one of the two organizing co-pastors of 4th United Presbyterian Church. Our other organizing pastor was Rev. Sonya McAuley-Allen, who is now pastor of a church in Charlotte, N.C. Since June of 2011, Rev. Elizabeth Peterson has been our parish associate pastor for new church development. The earliest posts are sermon notes from the few I have typed the last two years. Then, there is a series of notes posted on the book of Romans. After that, it varies from week to week, sometimes church news, sometimes reflections on a happening, a passage of scripture, or even some pictures. This blog is meant to open the conversation we have going on in our church to others in our community.

The picture below is of our church's sanctuary, built in 1913.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Importance of the Bible

When a person really takes the Bible seriously and becomes familiar with it, then that person comes into a conversation, a relationship with a sacred history of thought and life. It is a strange book, so far as books go. It spans topics from the creation of the universe through the history of one particular people and nation to the recreation of all things that exist. The Bible contains descriptions of the lives of prophets, kings, peasants, and the Christ of God. The Bible has more examples of evil than of good, taken as a whole. In that sense, the Bible is terribly realistic. It reflects reality to a large extent, but then, there is that creative strand of Scripture that reflects a reality that transcends life as we know it – it reflects the One who rules history from within history. It is as if God is present in the smallest molecule, but far beyond the greatest mountain.

To let yourself be taken in by the Bible is to allow yourself to see life from the depths of a mystery and to begin to participate in that mystery of life. But, most people don’t read the Bible like that. Most people look for an answer to this and that, and then close it back up. The Bible is meant to be read with imagination and humor and hope and love. You can’t really read the Bible unless you bring your whole self to it.

But, if you do, the Bible takes on a holy and sacred function in life. In time, if you stick with it, the Bible becomes Holy Ground that you can return to again and again. And, Scripture begins to live within your memory and heart as well. It is a place you can go to, when the rest of life seems false. It is a place you can go to when you want to experience something outside of the same old day to day life. It is an opening to a new world. Karl Barth once called it “The Strange New World of the Bible,” even though he had been reading it for most of his life. Somehow, in his late 20’s the Scriptures began to glow. He felt like Moses at the burning bush. He realized that Scripture could be a place of true revelation, the reading of Scripture an occasion for meeting the LIVING GOD.

But, there is preparation for all this. Children need to be told stories, the stories of Scripture. And, then children need to learn to read the Scripture in a way that it means something to them. And, children and adults need to gain a basic sense of the whole of scripture, so that they become interested in reading and putting it all together in some way. Once this is in place, a person has a sense of that sacred reality overagainst all their other experiences in life. They have some place to go. It really is a strange old book. It is the mystery of it that has saved me year in and year out, and renews me now as it did thirty years ago. It is also solid and has the feel of being true and reliable. But, you have to know how to separate the wheat from the chaff. Every word is not gold; every story is not gold. Let him who has ears to hear listen to the what the Spirit is saying.

No comments:

Post a Comment