Scripture Comes Alive

July 31, 2018 by  
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Imaginative places. Magical creatures. Mystical powers. Alternative worlds. Are you interested? The stories of our lives are full of such things! Adults and children alike love stories of fantasy, fairy tale, and science fiction. The best of them stir our emotions and leave us begging for more.

Think of Harry Potter and his world of wizardry. Think of Stars Wars and space flight among galaxies. Think of The Lord of the Rings and creatures like Hobbits and elves. Think of the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis and the adventures through the wardrobe into a mythical realm. Books and movies such as these capture our attention and our hearts. They tell stories that speak to our souls about timeless truths of good and evil.

The Bible is actually not so different than these great epics. The words of Holy Scripture are full of truth and the struggle between good and evil. The story of the Bible speaks right to our souls and reveals the primary script of our lives: conflict, struggle, and salvation. Fantasy stories seek salvation from things like Lord Voldemort, Darth Vader, and the witch. We seek salvation from sin, death, and the devil, which comes through Jesus Christ. The Bible tells an incredible story of the struggle for life.

Yet the Bible is not fantasy literature. Its stories did not take place in an alternative world or a future galaxy far, far away.  The Bible is from a real time and a specific place! The place of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem is not worlds away, only an 11-hour plane ride. The Sea of Galilee is really there, and it can be quite windy some days.  The Mount of Olives is not a figment of an author’s imagination; it is home to thousands of olive trees, and at least one that is 2000 years old.  The temple of Jerusalem was not made up – part of it still stands; I touched it just weeks ago.

Our recent pilgrimage to the Holy Land brought the words of the Bible to life for us. In the span of 12 days, we visited many of the places where our ancestors in faith lived and followed God. We traced the footsteps of Jesus, from his birth in Bethlehem, to his childhood in Nazareth; from his ministry in Galilee to his suffering and death in Jerusalem. Our group of nine pilgrims from St. John’s would often look at each other and say: “Jesus was here!” It was inspiring and awesome to be in the places where Jesus lived his life, ministered, prayed, suffered, and died. Having been there I can better picture the stories of Holy Scripture. Reading the Bible might engage us in what seems like another world, but it is our world of which it speaks.

Sometimes when we read the Bible it might seem fantastical, or at least difficult to understand. No doubt that reading the Bible is a profound cross-cultural experience through time and geography. But its words and stories come alive when we open our hearts and minds to it. The Bible speaks of real places and events back then while speaking also to the situations and events of our lives today. The Bible is a living word, and it comes alive for us, for all of us, whether or not we take a plane to Israel.

When I was confirmed in the 8th grade, my pastor challenged us to read through the Bible, one chapter a day, which I did during high school. I figured that if I was a Christian, I should know what the Bible said. I wanted to hear God’s word for me.  There wasn’t a lightning rod moment in those years of reading, but it shaped my life, for the good. How has God’s word shaped your life? Are you hearing God’s word for you?

One of the best ways to read Holy Scripture is to study it with others. The Bible especially comes alive as we read it together. Come on Thursdays at 1:00pm for Bible Study with me in the chapel; it’s an open invitation to all, no experience necessary. We’ll help each other picture the stories. Or join our new small group series “The Story” and read the Bible over 31 weeks with videos and support. Above all, let the word of God come alive for you, to stir your soul and shape your life for good.

In Christ,

Pastor Matthew Poock

“These are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.”

-The Gospel According to St. John, chapter 20, verse 31

  • Brooke Fraser

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