The name for this blog comes from the Hebrew word merchab. Merchab is a masculine noun that appears most often in the Psalms of the Hebrew Scriptures. It means a broad or roomy place, an expansive place, a wide place. Read more...

March 9, 2010

For The Bible Tells Me So

We all hear the Bible through the filter of our own personal perceptions.

At the recent Synod of the Diocese of British Columbia the closure of a number of parish churches was on the agenda. Those of us who were hoping for some leniency in Synod's decisions were heartened to discover that the Gospel reading appointed for Synod's closing Eucharist was Luke 13:1-9.

This passage includes Jesus' parable of the fig tree that for three years had failed to bear fruit. The owner of the tree instructs his gardner to "Cut it down!" But the gardener pleads,

Sir, let it alone for one more year, until I dig around it and put manure on it. If it bears fruit next yer, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.

Surely, God had spoken. Struggling parishes should be given more time. They should be encouraged to "dig" around, lay down some manure and see if they could produce more fruit.

As soon as the debate on church closures began, a member of Synod went to the microphone, Bible in hand and announced that the Gospel reading appointed for Sunday was Luke 13:1-9. He then pointed out that clearly, unfruitful parishes had been given their year to "dig" around and lay down manure. The owner of the fig tree was instructing this Synod to cut them down for the greater good of the garden as a whole.

Well-meaning, genuine, sincere people approach the same passage in the Bible and come to the opposite conclusion about what God is saying. Hearing "The Word of God" is not an exact science. We need to listen with patience, humility, and grace, not only to the Word of God as it speaks in the pages of the Bible, but also as it communicates through those who may hear the Bible differently.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Anglican churches keep closing? And yet other churches keep growing.

Fish rot from the head back.