Sunday, December 9, 2012

Learning How to See

When I began (attempting) to read the Bible in its original Greek and Hebrew, it was slow going. I couldn't gloss over the words quickly and half-heartedly. I had to work at it. But in doing so, I found a new world of meaning in the passages I'd once skimmed with the assumption, "Oh yea, I know this part already." "I know what this means." "I know what happens next." 

This past semester, I've begun reading through the gospel of John with a friend of mine whose native language is not English. We read a few sentences at a time out loud and then discuss the meaning of the words as well as the meaning of the story. It has been worth every moment spent in seminary to explore Jesus' life together with a friend who is hearing it afresh. 

Since attending a liturgical church, I've been introduced to a form of worship that is organized around the "Christian year," also known as the church calendar. Much like my experience with Greek and with my friend, it has been an incredibly meaningful invitation to approach the Christian Story-- of creation, fall, redemption, consummation-- as something more than mere information I learn and "move on" from. It has reminded me that as a Christ follower, I am to live inside that Story and let it determine the rhythm of my life, not the demands of higher education, an American 5-year plan, or any other "story" I could live by. 

This December I'm trying to approach Advent-- the season of the church year that recalls Israel's anticipation for the Messiah to come-- in a fresh way. I'm trying not to gloss over the readings or passages that foretell Christ's earthly ministry with the disinterested assumption, "I know this part already." I'm trying to approach this part of the Story as a learner-- and in doing so, I'm finding that I have a lot to learn. 

God's Word-- Jesus Christ-- is not a flat, two-dimensional piece of information that can be mastered. God's Word is a living, breathing, Person who invites me into relationship with Him. And that means I'll never be able to gloss over Him and say, "I know already." Rather, I'll always be invited to know Him more

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