The Radical Act of Reading Scripture

I recently suggested to our church family that the amount of time we spend on social media or watching our favorite Cable News Network compared to the amount of time we spend with God’s Word, prayer or other spiritual habits is likely a good barometer of how anxious or peaceful we are … as well our capacity to hold on to a Biblical/Kingdom perspective in today's cultural climate. I suspect we underestimate the importance of reading the Scriptures today. Those of us who attempt a regular reading of Scripture may even enjoy a breezy familiarity that undermines it's role in our lives. We lose our awareness of it's radical strangeness to the ways we normally think, feel and behave. We fight to stay awake.

I read something this morning that was a timely reminder for me. I hope it challenges you as it does me...

Reading Scripture constitutes an act of crisis. Day after day, week after week, it brings us into a world that is totally at odds with the species of world that newspaper and television serve up to us on a platter as our daily ration of data for conversation and concern ... The crisis into which the act of reading Scripture brings us does not usually mean emotional intensity or dramatic turnabout, but rather the solemn awareness, repeated as often as daily, that the world of reality to which we have vowed ourselves in belief and vocation is a divinely constituted world in which God calls upon us; it is not a humanly constituted world in which 'we', when we feel like it, call upon God. Everything in the world of culture can be made sense of without God; nothing in the world of Scripture can be made sense of without God.

Eugene Peterson, Working the Angles: The Shape of Pastoral Integrity, pp.131-132

The radical act of reading Scripture then awakens in us the even more radical act of living them.

Gary