Taste and See: Life in the Word

madrid-december-2003-083-books

Here I am, Lord! I come to do your will.

I waited, I waited for the Lord
and he stooped down to me;
he heard my cry.
He put a new song into my mouth,
praise of our God.

Here I am, Lord! I come to do your will.

You do not ask for sacrifice and offerings,
but an open ear.
You do not ask for holocaust and victim.
Instead, here am I.

Here I am, Lord! I come to do your will.

In the scroll of the book it stands written
that I should do your will.
My God, I delight in your law
in the depth of my heart.

Here I am, Lord! I come to do your will.

Your justice I have proclaimed
in the great assembly.
My lips I have not sealed;
you know it, O Lord.

Here I am, Lord! I come to do your will.

Psalm 39:2,4,7-10

The Psalm on Sunday, the 2nd of Ordinary Time, contains the poignant words:

‘In the scroll of the book it stands written
that I should do your will.’

The phrase is not that ‘we’ should do your will’ (though we should!) but that ‘I should. In the reading of the scroll, the psalmist hears God speaking directly to him; as we the present readers of scripture will hear God speak to us, individually.

Pause and wonder. That in the scroll, in all the scriptures, , God talks to us, and of us, as individuals, you, me. He speaks of ‘us’ because he speaks to each of us, individually, even when speaking to the collective. There is nothing anonymous about our presence before the scriptures and the one who speaks there. God speaks, because he wants to speak to you, me, us…

The Letter to the Hebrews speaks of the Word of God alive and active. The Church singles out Christ’s real, actual, personal presence to us in the word proclaimed.

There is something very important here and often neglected. There is a danger that academic study of the text – both our own experience of this in schools and colleges, and the effect of ‘scientific’ scholarly discourse engaged with more broadly in our culture – reduces ‘The Bible’ to just another cultural artefact, just another book.

madrid-december-2003-030-booksGood teachers, catechists and pastors, grounded in faith, will always work to show that scholarship makes its proper contribution to our understanding of the Bible, and our reading of it, but that our relationship with scripture is about more than just reading a book. Scripture is fundamentally how the Word uses words to draw us into a personal communion. It begins with an encounter with the Word (with Jesus Christ) in the word proclaimed, or in words read on a page.  As we ponder those words, something more is opened up to us, something richer, more personal: something that is more about now, (rather than ‘then’), and about us (more than just ‘them’).

We learn how communion with God is offered to us, and we learn how to enter into that. We learn the will of God, and how what God wills draws us to the fullness of life.

The Book is the start, not the end…

Art installation. Madrid. (c) 2003, Allen Morris

One thought on “Taste and See: Life in the Word

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.