“Life”

GOSPEL | JOHN 5:39-47

 39 “You search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that testify on my behalf.  40 Yet you refuse to come to me to have life.  41 I do not accept glory from human beings.  42 But I know that you do not have the love of God in you.  43 I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; if another comes in his own name, you will accept him.  44 How can you believe when you accept glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the one who alone is God?  45 Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; your accuser is Moses, on whom you have set your hope.  46 If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me.  47 But if you do not believe what he wrote, how will you believe what I say?”

“Yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” (v.40)

The beauty and gift of Lectio Divina is that it invites me to be still and quiet, and allow Scripture to speak for itself. I am not expected to have the answers (though seminary is giving me some helpful tools to find the answers, and even a few of the answers themselves). I am not expected to wrap up the text with a homiletical turn so I can preach the text. Lectio doesn’t ask me for my exegetical notes. Lectio asks me to be still, and humbly ask, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.”

As I continue practicing Lectio with Lent’s gospel texts, it has become more and more strange to be blogging about the experience, precisely because I am continually tempted to make the interpretive turn (even if I’m simply interpreting what I heard the text say to me) beyond sitting and dwelling. I am tempted to speak (or write), rather than listen.

Then Jesus speaks.

My vocation right now is studying the Word of God. Soon (hopefully) my vocation will involve preaching the Word of God. It is so easy to settle for the grade, for the praise of men, for the Bible itself, and to miss the One to whom the Bible points: the True Word of God, Jesus Christ. The reason I love Lectio is that it allows me to come into Christ’s presence through his Word. It is Christ who is life — not the Bible, not right theology, not right worship or right practices or right action. These things are all avenues to Jesus, but can too often stand in the way of Jesus.

Father,
You sent Your Son to bring eternal life;
Send Your Holy Spirit swiftly and strongly,
so that my reading and study of Your Word would be
more and more a “thin place,”
where I can encounter Your Son in the sacred space of relationship,
and less and less an obscuring obstacle or an end in itself. 
In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Your One True Word,
Amen.
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