The Scripture Project
The Easter story bears witness that the risen Christ comes to the disciples in places of fear and despair. They encounter the risen Christ in ways they do not expect or recognize—as a gardener, as a stranger who helps them make connections between their unsettling experience and the Hebrew scriptures.
Their encounter with the risen Christ has to do with listening to stories, touching wounds, eating together…hard conversations. Through these experiences the disciples’ hearts are warmed, they receive peace and the gift of the Spirit. These experiences change the way the disciples live in the world.
N.T. Wright says Easter is the Big Bang of new creation. The Easter story is the opening chapter of the world’s rebirth. Because of Easter, we see the world differently. In the midst of suffering and brokenness, we believe that God is in the process of renewing all things. God’s renewal begins with ourselves, and embraces plants, planets, and people.
Our life together at Sunnyside is an extension of the Easter story. As we pay attention to where we are, we encounter the God who raised Jesus from the dead—sometimes in surprising ways. It happens as we listen to stories, eat together, touch wounds, engage in hard conversations, name our doubts and fears. It happens as our hearts are warmed, as we receive the peace of Christ and the gift of the Spirit.
One of the important ways we listen to stories is by reading scripture together. For Anabaptists, this is a core value and practice. Reading together helps us discover who we are and what God is calling us to be. This brings me to the topic at hand—The Scripture Project.
So what is the Scripture Project? The Scripture Project is, very simply, a way of helping us reflect on the importance of scripture for our lives. The Scripture Project will also be the focus of our worship during the summer months. In order for that to take shape, I invite each of us to take some time to reflect on and respond to any or all of the following questions. You may send your responses to me by May 12 via email or on paper.
1. What scripture texts or biblical stories have been particularly meaningful to you at different times/stages of your life? (Feel free to include as few or as many as you like)
2. Which texts, stories, words, images of God or themes in scripture are particularly meaningful in your life right now?
3. How has scripture influenced the way you see yourself, others, God?
4. Has the way you read scripture changed over the years? If so, how? What life experiences have impacted the way you read scripture as a whole, or certain passages?
5. What do you find to be the most challenging or difficult about reading scripture? What parts of scripture are the most troubling? What gives you the most hope?
The Scripture Project is intended to help us think about how our story is connected with God’s story—wherever we have come from. Whether reading scripture is a habit you have developed over a lifetime, or whether you are new to scripture and the practice of reading together in Christian community, the invitation is to enter in with expectancy that God will speak to your life through scripture.
Peace be with each of you,
Season of Easter 2013