Each week as we gather for worship we do a number of things. Some of them are a part of the worship service itself, while other things are not. We light candles. We ring the church bell. We visit around the coffee pot and share snacks. We sing songs. We share the concerns of our hearts with each other and together we lift them to God. We give of ourselves to God. And we hear from God.
We hear from God in two ways, one of them directly and the other indirectly. We hear from God directly through the reading of the Bible during worship. And we hear indirectly through the preaching of the sermon. Ideally in the sermon the person preaching has studied the words of scripture well and is able to bring to the congregation a message to help the congregation understand the Bible and what God has to say in it more clearly.
The Bible is an old book. The newest parts of the New Testament are nearly 2,000 years old and the oldest parts of the Old Testament were put into writing 600 years or so before that. As fast as things change in our world we might wonder how something so old could still have any relevance for us today. Maybe it is time to move on to something more contemporary, something that reflects our own world and culture.
To that I would say, "No. Absolutely not." I wouldn't say that just because I am the pastor and am expected to. I would say instead that, "We should hang on to the Bible more tightly than ever, because in a world that is changing so rapidly it remains the place we should continue to stand on." The Bible provides the only truly solid ground in a world where there is much "sinking sand."
Here is a quote about the Bible I happened to read this week: "It is old without ever becoming obsolete. It always remains young and fresh; it is the word of life. "
We can go outside and see evidence of God in the beauty of nature. We can look at a baby, holding it on our arms and marvel that God would have created a child so precious. But seeing evidence of God in nature, or in little children, doesn't reveal to us the nature of God, or the nature of his relationship with humans. To rightly understand that we have to turn to the Bible.
As we read the Bible we learn of God's perfection, and our imperfection, and most importantly, about the way God poured himself out in his son, Jesus, so that we can know wholeness and healing in the truest sense of those words.
So, with joyful anticipation, open the Bible and read. In its pages, and nowhere else, you will find Jesus, the true Word of Life, eternal life, speaking to you.