My congregation, St. Michael and All Angels, Cambridge Junction, is exploring how we live into Jesus’ two Great Commandments – Love God; Love Your Neighbor – as our Lenten study this year. The first week we discussed Jesus’ response to the devil’s temptations in the wilderness from our Gospel for the First Sunday in Lent. He didn’t debate and pull out his very best arguments; he quoted Scripture. He knew God’s Word. Jesus held God’s Word deep in the fabric of his being so that it was there right when he needed it most. We need to do that, too. If we don’t know the Bible well, we can’t pull it out when we’re wandering in the wilderness of our lives and come face-to-face with the devil.
The author of II Timothy reminds us:
But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it, and how from childhood you have known the sacred writings that are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work (II Timothy 3:14 – 17, NRSV).
We need to be equipped to live out God’s mission for the world! I know that you all know this already.
But did you know that at General Convention last summer, we approved a resolution that encourages all of us to engage more intentionally in God’s Word – especially in congregational reading? See, if I try, I can find a resolution for everything!
B007: Participation in the Bible in the Life of the Church Project of the Anglican Communion
Resolved, That the 78th General Convention of The Episcopal Church express its appreciation to the Anglican Consultative Council and the staff of the Anglican Communion Office for the Anglican Communion’s “Bible in the Life of the Church” project in its efforts to deepen engagement with Scripture across the Communion; and be it further
Resolved, That the dioceses of The Episcopal Church be encouraged to make their parishes, clergy and lay leaders aware of the resources and findings of the “Bible in the Life of the Church” project; and be it further
Resolved, That the dioceses and seminaries of The Episcopal Church be invited to engage with Scripture together with Episcopalians/Anglicans from other parts of the Communion using the methods and resources of the “Bible in the Life of the Church”; and be it further
Resolved, That dioceses and seminaries of The Episcopal Church be encouraged to contribute educational resources from their own contexts to the “Bible in the Life of the Church” project in order to share lessons from their contexts with the wider Anglican Communion.
This resolution was brought to Convention by the Committee on Formation and Education for Ministry recognizing the importance of “motivating a deeper engagement with the Bible across the churches of the Anglican Communion.” The Bible in the Life of the Church project began at the May 2009 meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council in Kingston, Jamaica. One of the goals of the project is to increase “understanding of the way that Anglicans engage Scripture in our various contexts.”
Dr Ellen F. Davis, professor of Bible and Anglican Theology at Duke Divinity School, explains the importance of the Scripture reading in the life of the Church in this short video
The Bible in the Life of the Church project has a list of helpful resources for bringing new life to your congregation’s study of Scripture – http://www.anglicancommunion.org/mission/theology/the-bible-in-the-life-of-the-church/further-resources.aspx
All the work of the Bible in the Life of the Church project – its report, educational resources and further developments – are available on-line at: http://www.anglicancommunion.org/mission/theology/the-bible-in-the-life-of-the-church.aspx
At St Michael’s we are trying to memorize a verse each week beginning with “Your Word is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path” (Psalm 119:105, NRSV) because we want the tools we need to journey this path of life without stumbling over challenges and temptations. Join us, won’t you?
Let us pray –
Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
~ The Rev. Deacon Judith Schellhammer, chair, Resolution Review Committee