A gentle breeze, barely a whisper of wind, stirs my windsock, making a slight rustle. Various flying bugs wander about, attracted to the light I turn on. I sit for a while outside, my feet on the rail, letting the peace of the evening enter into my soul.
I’ve gotten out of the habit of just sitting, stirred to press onwards to discover the meaning of this moment, forgetting my own purposes. Watching is enough for now, immersed as I am within the view. There is more to be sure, and yet, I feel not the slightest bit of rest, not the barest contentment. I press onwards and stopping has no rehabilitory effect.
I wonder if it should, if I am merely losing touch with that deeper side, or if indeed I am in touch and God does not have me content in the meditation. He is pressing me somewhere, to be sure. I must consider further what this means. Am I letting acedia disturb me, and theologizing it as direction. I honestly don’t know.
Scripture came to mind today, and yesterday for that matter. Not a specific verse, just the whole topic. Passing through the channels last night I stumbled by Jack van Impe. He’s a ‘prophecy’ guy who looks at current events and has a bucket of scriptures he relates to the goings-on. In talking he quotes and references, throwing out addresses as apparent authority. I’m not convinced by his predictions, nor really by his use of Scripture. Proof texting is what it seems to be, that is using verses out of context which vaguely relate.
Then I remember Paul does the same thing, so does Jesus, according at least to modern exegetical standards.
I’ve never been a memory verse kind of guy. I know Scripture, however. Mainly because I came at it from a different direction. I love to read, always have, and when I was young my parent bought me a Bible, an illustrated Bible. Not the kind with the NIV interspersed with EuroJesus. Mine was essentially the Bible in comic book form. I’m sure there were, and are, those who would vehemently fight against such sacrilege. I began beating adults at Bible trivia games when I was still young.
The pictures are still in my head. Just the other day when I was reading about Solomon and his riches the picture of the crates of goods, including peacocks, sitting on the beach brought a smile to my face.
I didn’t know the verses specifically, but I learned the story, the narrative, the overall flow and the characters of Scripture, old and new testaments in a way which propelled me into more professional studies with almost too much ease.
This came to mind because I realize in comparison with other writers on spiritual topics I don’t lace my comments with a lot of verses. It’s not because I lack the appreciation, it is because Scripture for me is such an assumed part of everything I do and write.
The earliest writers didn’t note their quotations, forcing editors of the past couple of centuries to add footnotes. Patrick, my namesake, is said to have a rather poor written latin, except for those times in which he uses Biblical phrases within his own thoughts. They knew Scripture, much more than we do really, and it infused everything they wrote.
That is my goal, to get there someday. I don’t want to be someone like Jack van Impe who throws out verses, watering down the authority by misuse. I want to be someone in whom, through whom, Scripture flows as part of my own thoughts, where I write about the Spiritual life without specific quotes. I want to know Scripture, and swim within its depths, to get to the point where I may not write exactly what Paul said, but write something Paul would agree with. Though I do want to write what Paul said, I suppose, only not with the assumed authority of adding addresses. Who really is convinced by addresses? “Oh, a verse in the second letter to the thessalonians says it,” the pagan will never say, “so then it must be true.”
We’ve become a people who know some verses, but don’t know the story, can’t reflect on the rhythm and flow, melody and harmony, which Scripture presents. This goes beyond the conservative harmonizing, making seemingly opposing verses fit together. It is an understanding of the God who was, is, and is to come. How we can read Ecclesiastes and Revelation with the same mind, how Romans is intimately connected with Judges.
Because there is a connection, a wonderful glorious revelation of a very complicated and unexpected God.
Maybe this is merely a sign I am not of the previous generation. Because the Bible tells me so? No, for me it is because of what the Bible is saying, what it is telling me. The story gives it authority, not vice versa.
The task is to get to know it as a whole, not bits and pieces with dubious purposes. I explain myself and exhort myself all at once.
I also realize I’m tired now. Off to bed.