Over at Revgals Songbird asks us: Twenty years ago, I was on a Pastoral Search Committee, and one of the questions we asked the ten candidates we interviewed in the first round was to tell us their three favorite passages of scripture. I loved hearing the variety of verses quoted and even learned some that I didn't know, such as the last line of one of this week's lectionary passages:
21 “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
Firstly I love this whole encounter and have written about it several times, buthe verse concerning worship- that true worshippers will worship in Spirit and in truth really stands out, in what I believe is a spiritually thirsty world people need to encounter true worship! And true worship is what we are called to. We are constantly asked what it might look like- I think that,that question is the wrong one, rather we should ask ourselves, how should this be, or where is my heart when I come before God...
3. The third verse I have chosen is this from Matthew 11:28-30 :
28-30"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."
Taken from The Message version of the Bible this verse sustained me through depression, and still sustains me through tiredness and discouragement, it holds within it echoes of the divine dance ( Perichoresis) that God invites us to participate in. I love the picture of relaxing into the rythms of grace, of learning in Christ to live freely and lightly...
In my darkest night this verse kindled a flame that never dies away!
4 . My fourth choice is actually a whole chapter- Genesis 1 with its amazing first verse: In the beginning God! This beautiful poem/song of creation has caused so many arguements, mostly because it has wrongly been treated as fact. Only last week as I began to work through the E100 with our Bible Study class three people expressed amazement at the truth that can be conveyed through mystery and myth, previously they had dismissed any thoughts on Genesis 1 &2 as they had just not been able to accept the simplistic God created the world in 7 days account, as a poem/song they were able to relate to it in a new and exciting way!
5 For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. 7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
We have this treasure in jars of clay... reminds me that I am fragile and vulnerable, weak and prone to mistake, and yet God has trusted me with the good news, his treasure is in me, and will shine through me...
To quote Anthony. B. Robinson from "Good News in Exile"... describing his search for a new way of talking about conversion, seeking out a Biblical response to people's longings he says:
" I believe that new hearts and minds are the level to be working at, and it is at this level that many of our congregations long to be addressed. They are waiting I believe for their pastors to say: People something is at stake here, something that makes all the difference in the world"