Have you ever stopped to wonder why it is that we read the Bible? Scripture doesn’t tell us how to make decisions or how to make a living. It won’t help you find a parking place or tell you who will win a football game. And yet, we read the Bible with the expectation, or at least the hope, that God will somehow speak to us through these words.
Walter Brueggemann writes, “The biblical text functions among us as a ‘second thought,’ coming after the initial description of our life in the world according to the dominant meta-narrative of our society. One function of redescription is to protest against the initial description and to insist that the initial presentation of reality is not an adequate or trustworthy account.”
If I understand him correctly, Brueggemann is saying that the world around us is always telling us how the world is to be and what part we play in it. “Do well in school.” “Eat your vegetables.” “Work hard to get ahead.” These are some of the messages that the larger culture tells us all the time. Some of the messages are positive and helpful while some of the messages the world tells us can be destructive or put a lid on our potential.
The Bible provides us with an additional set of stories and messages that are different from what the world generally offers. It tells us that God hears the cries of those in bondage and can deliver persons from slavery. It tells the story of a person in old age who seems the fulfillment of a promise that they have waited for a whole lifetime. It offers a story of sins that are forgiven, blind persons receiving sight, and captives set free. Most of all the Bible tells us that the creator of all things is engaged in human affairs and cares about each and every person.
When you know the right story, it opens up pathways that would otherwise be unknown. When we dig into scripture, we find that the God we find there can be present in our lives also, no matter what the world might say. And that is what faith is about.
Take care and may God’s Spirit lift you up each day.