St. Andrew's UMC
Thursday, August 21, 2014
A Friendly, Caring Church




A top-ten list

10. It’s boring.
9.   It’s too much history.
8.  There is too much violence in it.
7.  The God of the Old Testament is mean.
6.  The names and places are difficult to pronounce.
5.  It isn’t chronological.
4.  It’s difficult to understand.
3.  It has too many rules.
2.  The stories do not jive with modern science.
1.  It is not relevant anymore.

At one time or another I have heard all of the above. In fact, there was a time in my life when I SAID all of the above!

There are parts of the Bible that are a little boring (Leviticus), and the names and places are difficult to pronounce (Geuel?). The violence is hard to wrap my mind around. And there are a LOT of rules.
 And yet.
 God reveals to us in the words of ancient writers, who He is—and who we are in relation to Him. Far from giving us “pat answers” to life’s challenges, the Bible gives us people who have struggled with the exact same things. Rather than giving a “black and white” list of instruction, we are invited into dialogue with the Bible, and urged to wrestle with its content. I believe our relationship with God deepens when we struggle with His word.
Its pages invite us to learn how to be faithful, often by showing us people who were not.  Holy Scripture challenges our way of thinking, and encourages us to see the world through the eyes of our loving Creator.

I have no doubt that I would have a relationship with God even if I did not read His word—but I doubt seriously it would be a deep one.

Wrestling with what God reveals to us through the inspired (but not infallible) words of Scripture has allowed me to appreciate God in ways I would otherwise have missed.

But the Bible was never meant to be read alone.

 Wrestling with Scripture as a part of a group Bible Study has taken my relationships with Him and with others to a whole new level. Far from being oppressive, the Bible continues to provide encouragement. Far from making me feel limited, Scripture sets my Spirit in the freedom of Grace. Don’t get me wrong: it demands that I grow. It challenges me to expand my thinking, and my world view.

But engaging the Word of God is, at its core, far from boring, more than a set of rules, easier to understand when studied together, and not only makes room for modern science, it gives me a greater appreciation for the God who created science.

 And is it Relevant?
 Every day.
 I hope you’ll join me beginning August 17 as we look at Ways to a More Fulfilling Life as found in the very words of God. 

See you in church, 

Pastor Juliet