Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Never-Ending Story

A FB acquaintance of mine, recently installed as pastor of a UCC congregation in Oklahoma, posted the following as his status for this morning:
Let the never-ending exegesis of Psalm 52 continue!
It got me thinking about the whole matter of reading Scripture, figuring out what it means, discovering new layers and depths in familiar passages, learning new things about the original context that might just shade our understanding in a slightly - or perhaps more than slightly! - different way than previously.

More than anything else, this is why I find the project of reading the Bible each day so wonderful.  Not only do I find passages I hadn't encountered before, at least specifically; I also encounter old passages, reading them in the light of changed life-circumstances, or a changed understanding of the background or setting or perhaps even authorial intention, should one delve in to academic studies and monographs.
What if the story of Jesus was meant not just to be told but retold, molded, and shaped into something new, something present by the Evangelist to face each new crisis? The Evangelists were not recording a historical report, but writing to effect a change in their community. Mark was faced with the imminent destruction of his tiny community--a community leaderless without Paul and Peter and who witnessed the destruction of the Temple; now, another messianic figure was claiming the worship rightly due to Jesus. The author of the Gospel of Mark takes his stylus in hand and begins to rewrite the story of Jesus--to unwrite the present, rewrite the past, to change the future.
There is not just joy in such discoveries.  There is the deepening of faith, the assurance of that peace that passes understanding when we come to understand how little we understood even when we confidently insisted we did understand.

Virtual Tin Cup

Amazon Honor System Click Here to Pay Learn More