“And He came home, . . .” Mark 3:20
Why are we, as a church, doing this, reading through a book of the Bible? Wouldn’t it be easier if we were to cherry pick some verses each week? We would pick the pleasant joyous, happy verses, arrange them around an appealing topic and package them in a clever way; such as grace and call the series Graceland and have all the house church pastors standing at the auditorium doors dressed as Elvis. Why not build a Sunday around Psalm 34:8 “O taste and see the Lord is good; . . .” and begin our gatherings by passing out donuts to everyone, so you could taste and be impressed at our theatrics. Why don’t we go to such great lengths?
Because, what we are called to do is something so simple, so pure, and something so uncluttered. We are to straight forwardly read the text and live it. Our spiritual lives are not formed by randomly assembling favorite verses. That would be like letting your kids raise themselves on a diet of coke and cookies, although tasty, not very healthy.
We are not in charge of disciplining ourselves, but this is what has happened. We have chosen personal experience over scriptural reading and living. We need to come home, back to the word of God.
As a church, when we feed on a buoyant reading of scripture and as we listen to its claims, lean into its call, and let God’s word have us, we are fed. As food nurtures the human body, the word of God is assimilated. When taken into our lives, it gets metabolized as acts of love through local and global missions, in house church, in ministries that bring healing and justice in Jesus’ name.
We read verse by verse, line by line, because all of it is meant to be lived. Reading together as a church keeps our identity focused, our lives Spirit filled, our discipleship authentic and our hope fresh. Reading corporately places living, speaking and acting in the ways of Jesus in the center of our life.
The Holy Word reveals the words which created heaven and earth; they reveal the Word that became flesh. God’s word was written down and translated so we could enter the story. We hold a Bible in our hands and read so we can listen and respond, so we can experience the life creating, lifesaving work of God.
Take some time to refresh yourself with the gospel of Mark, read chapters one and two. Step back into the flow of the ministry of Jesus.