“Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” If we are lucky, we learn this early, and it provides a solid, life-long foundation for our sense of who we are, and our place in the world. A three-year-old can sing this familiar song and internalize the central message of the Christian faith. Jesus loves you. But for most of us, a three-year-old faith wears thin. We outgrow it, just as we outgrow tricycles and baby shoes. So, then what? When our questions, challenges, thoughts, and searching take us where this simple phrase no longer satisfies, what do we do?
We turn, of course, to the same place that gave us our first child-sized insight. The Bible, Holy Scripture, the written Word of God, contains wisdom, insight, history, poetry, passion, conviction, violence, love, and revelation passed on for generations. For Christians, Scripture contains our “first language of faith.” That is to say, it is through the stories and accounts recorded in the Bible that we hear about, read about, and learn how the Living God has been persistently pursuing all people since the beginning of creation! It is, quite simply, a love story of cosmic proportions.
The only way we can know that is to read it. But even reading on our own is not quite enough. Like the Ethiopian eunuch, whom Philip engaged while he was riding in his chariot, “how can I understand without someone to explain it to me?” (There’s a teaser for you – do you know that story?)
Our faith as Christians draws us deeply into a community of love, founded on real relationships – with God, with one another, and with the whole world. As we focus on the “Elements of a Living Faith” we begin by focusing on Studying Scripture. Sunday school begins. Children receive Bibles. Confirmation classes resume. And all of us are invited to take part in some truly good reading!
For starters, consider joining Behold! Bible Study. Pick up a copy of “Christ in Our Home” and read the few verses appointed for each day. Join one of the several Men’s Ministry Bible studies. Participate in a Women’s circle – each of which spend part of their time in devotions. Watch the newsletter, monitors, and web-site for the various Bible study opportunities that will be offered through this year. Attend Adult Forum and learn about the ELCA’s “Book of Faith” initiative.
Grow in faith by planting your roots firmly in the ground of scripture! Your name is written into the story!!