Tuesday, October 2, 2007
Today in our inductive study of St. Peter's First Epistle, two of my favorite "soapbox" topics came up in our discussion: church unity and lectio divina.
Kim read a little excerpt from one of her commentaries about Andrew Jackson. During the late days of the War of 1812, General Jackson's men had developed a critical spirit toward one another. They squabbled over little things and generally got on each other's nerves. This disunity brought troop morale to a very low point, and would be affecting their ability to fight the British. So one day, the General collected his troops, pointed at the British battlements, and stated: "Gentlemen, the enemy is OVER THERE."
The Church should indeed be the same way. The "in-fighting" over the years has not only tarnished our witness for Christ but has also allowed Satan, our enemy, to run amock. If we Christians agree on the "majors" (the creeds, let's say), then we should consider each other on the same side and not as enemies. We have an enemy, Satan, and he's OVER THERE. We believers in Christ need to be united -- not divided, not arguing over minor points not related to salvation issues, not starting a new church every time we don't agree with a doctrine or don't like the color of the "auditorium." We have a common enemy, and we need to be, in the words of Christ's own prayer for the Church, "ONE, as my Father and I are ONE." So the Church, Eastern and Western, Catholic and Protestant, liturgical and evangelical, need to take our rifle sights off of each other and aim our weapons at our true enemy, Satan, who delights in our disunity and "in-fighting" and name-calling. Kim's point today in Bible study was one that has been near and dear to my heart for the past seven or eight years.
The other important issue that came up today was Kim's reading a selection from a book called A Deeper Walk that discussed the practice of lectio divina, a very slow and meditative way of reading the Scriptures that dates back to the early Church and the beginning of monasticism. On my sidebar under "Web Sites of Interest" is a handy-dandy link to a site that shows how to do lectio divina. Lectio is of interest to me currently because I'm still slowly plugging away at Eugene Peterson's Eat This Book, the second half of which discusses the practice of lectio. This practice will also make up a chapter in my book (if I ever have time to actually write it, and that's if I finally get done researching it....). Lectio divina and its method which slows us down so we can truly read, meditate upon, pray, and live the Word of God has been of great importance for nearly two thousand years, and it's a process that we should be learning and practicing now in the 21st century when busy-ness is a national epidemic, one from which the Church is far from immune.
So besides our researching and discussing and exegesis of 1 Peter 1:22-2:3, these topics also brought us into the presence of God in a way that demonstrates His perfect love and absolute graciousness to us, and in particular today, to me.