Some of you will remember these famous words from a well known hymn: “Break thou the bread of life, dear Lord to me, as thou didst break the loaves beside the sea; Beyond the sacred page I seek thee, Lord; my spirit pants for thee, O Living Word!”
Mary Lathbury, who wrote these words back in 1877, wants to show us that the words of the Bible point us toward Christ himself, “the Living Word” of God. These words remind us that the Bible is not just something from long ago, but can help illuminate the places where God is moving in our lives right now!
During May, we are going to do a short term Bible study on the book of Galatians (see details in this issue of the Advance). This is one of the ways we take time to examine the words of scripture for our lives today. Of course, a gathering like this is not just “study”, but rather, a time where people from the church can re-connect with one another, share prayers, and also talk about questions and ideas that come from reading the biblical text. For those who attend it becomes a way to think a little more deeply about how we live out our faith on a daily basis.
In a larger sense, the words of scripture can sometimes help to ground us, and keep us focused on who we are and what we are about. There is a wonderful spirit and energy in our church family right now, and I continue to be grateful for all of the ministries that we undertake together. During worship in May, we will use scripture to reflect on themes like Mother’s Day, Pentecost, and Memorial Day.
Even though the stories of the Bible and the written document remains the same, God encourages us to continue re-interpreting those passages for our time and place. As we move into the summer season, I encourage you to consider making the reading of scripture a regular part of your week. Begin with a book like Mark or Luke. Ask yourself: “What are the biblical stories that speak to me most clearly right now?” And “How does a certain story or passage help me discover God in my daily life?” When we see in these ancient writings a source of comfort, wisdom, and direction, then we can truly call them “wonderful words of life.”