Scripture: Philippians 1:3-11
When you read scripture what do you think about? I get wrapped up in reading. When I read a novel it is as if I am sitting in at the movies, my imagination gets so vivid. I am kind of embaraced to admit that even when I sleep I tend to replay the story line in my dreams. Sometimes I get confused because I took the story in a different direction in my dreams than the author took things. It can be weird when this happens while I am reading scripture, I almost feel like I am not taking things serious enough and some of you may agree, but most of the time this imaginative aspect of my brain gives me insight, and the more I read the more intimate I become. Many times as I study commentaries my imaginative processes actually help my understandings.
When I read the sections of scripture that are more narrative I understand my active imagination, but I find it odd when it happens in a epistle. It is a letter not a story, but at times I imagine the writer dictating the words to a scribe, or sitting in a Meeting of Worship and listening to a respected leader reading it to me. At times my mind will get hung up on a word or phrase and it will take my mind to a place, event, or a different scripture. Praying with scripture strengthens the relationship and interaction with God, I believe this is where imagination is important. Now if you do not read in that way I understand, there is no right or wrong way to pray or meditate with scripture…well I take that back there is a wrong way…Not to pray or meditate on scripture.
Today there is one of those phrases that seems to transport me… Sharing in the gospel. The word sharing conjures up several images. The interaction and joy of friends playing together, the excitement of a couple exploring their first kiss, and the laughter over a table filled with grandma’s cooking. Sharing in the gospel is interactive. Have you ever really considered our religion interactive? Really interactive? Sharing? Sharing is relational. One cannot share alone, sharing also implies something that compounds, grows, and expands. Sharing in the Gospel. A compounding, growing, expanding gospel? This makes us have to reconsider the Gospel.
This time of year is advent, we are anticipating the coming of Christ. The entire New Testament begins with the coming of the kingdom of God, which means the coming of the king. The Gospel message taught by John the Baptist is that the Kingdom of God is near, at hand, or here! The teaching of Jesus was the same, the good news is that the kingdom is at hand, near, right here. Sometimes we miss the point if we fast forward through the life of Jesus and just focus on the saving redemptive sacrifice provided by Christ, there is not a growing, expanding, sharing in that Gospel. That is just a headline. There is more to the gospel, why else would we have a “fat” bible as my theology professor would say. We need a thick bible, because thick shows the growing gospel. It show the expanding kingdom, one that increases as it is actively shared and intimately participated in.
The sharing, the growing, expanding gospel continues. Imagine this. What if each person would write how the sharing in the gospel has and continues to affect their life and the life of those around us, and these stories of the expanding kingdom were added to the Bible? Imagine how quickly this book of the Sharings in the Gospel would grow!
“And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight…” (Philippians 1:9 NRSV)
As you pray, meditate, and share in the gospel today I hope and pray that each of us will see the love overflowing, grace
abounding, and mercy exceding. Enjoy your journey with God!