Collect for Pentecost III – Series B
Blessed Lord, since You have caused all Holy Scriptures to be written for our learning, grant that we may so hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
People, including myself, found him endearing, exasperating, prickly, and sweet. He was a retired pastor in one of the congregations I had served. He now rests in Christ. He had a long ministry in service to our Lord and took that responsibility quite seriously, reading and re-reading his Bible many times. He had memorized a great deal of it and regularly had a Word of God on his tongue ready to share.
It was that Word which was always on his tongue which people sometimes struggled with. It made them uncomfortable. Sometimes it was sweet and easy to hear. Other times it was hard to hear. When I think of someone who has heard, read, marked, learned, and inwardly digested God’s Holy Scriptures, I think of him and of my reaction to him. God’s Word is like that. Just when we imagine that we have God figured out we discover to our horror that the little and tame God who is on our leash is not in fact God at all. The real God is standing behind us, large, dangerous, and utterly beyond either our comprehension or control. The Bible reveals a God who surprises me, shocks me, comforts me, delights me, and so much more.
This is a dangerous prayer in a sense. My friend and colleague was much further down this road than I was or am. Perhaps I will never so inwardly digest God’s Word as he did. The Scriptures are not a means for us to control or fully understand God. But as the prayer notes, they are a Word from God which conveys His eternal life to us. I will keep reading that Bible and pray you do too. I will listen to others speak about it because sometimes the Spirit leads them in ways I would never consider. I pray my hunger is always for its strange and disquieting Word. The Jesus who speaks therein brought my friend to eternal life. He will bring me and you as well.