Fortunately, a few years after I graduated college, I got involved in a church that offered the Kerygma Bible study. I decided to try reading it again with the class. In that Bible study, the words of Scripture were opened to me. I learned about the context of the stories and that different books had different purposes. I learned how to look for what it said about God and what it said about human beings and so much more. I learned that the Bible was not only for me, but it was also a treasure to dig into and to cherish. It took reading it with others who could guide and accompany me as I learned about and from God. That love of digging into the Scripture grew even more as I went to seminary. Visiting the Holy Land opened the Scripture to me in astounding ways.
Occasionally there are still passages I struggle with in the Bible, especially out of the Old Testament. They are like Jacob and the angel (Genesis 32:24-31), they require a struggle before it gives us a blessing. Other passages are hopeful and soothing like Philippians 4:13 “I can endure all things through the power of Christ who gives me strength.” And some are just fun like Proverbs 11:22, NRSV “Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman without good sense.” I have yet to see that passage on a calendar!
The thing is that the Bible draws us closer to God by first helping us know Jesus and the good news he brought and the good news he embodied. It draws us closer to God by telling the stories, poetry, and history of our spiritual ancestors. In their stories, we see our story. It draws us closer to God by teaching us how to live.
As United Methodists, the Scripture has always been of primary importance. With the postponed General Conference coming in ten months, some are beginning to wonder what will happen to our beloved church. The leaders of the Western Jurisdiction want you to know that we are committed to being a faithful, inviting, open, safe, and loving place for all people where Scripture remains at the center of our lives. As the First Letter of John says,
“Dear friends, let’s love each other, because love is from God, and everyone who loves is born from God and knows God. The person who doesn’t love does not know God, because God is love. This is how the love of God is revealed to us: God has sent his only Son into the world so that we can live through him. This is love: it is not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son as the sacrifice that deals with our sins. Dear friends, if God loved us this way, we also ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. If we love each other, God remains in us and his love is made perfect in us.” (1 John 4:7-12, CEB)
We are and continue to be committed to being a place “Where Love Lives.”
United in Christ,