No content comes into our lives free-floating: it is always embedded in a form of some kind.—Eugene Peterson
I ponder Peterson’s words and wonder are they true. Leaning in to see if anything I’ve learned exists without experience tied to it in some way. I’m pretty sure he’s right. I thumb through the “first ever” folders of my mind and pause on the one entitled scripture. When did I first learn scripture words?
My momma’s voice sings in the background of my thoughts.
Zacheus was a wee little man and a wee little man was he… Yes, Jesus loves me the Bible tells me so… Deep and wide, deep and wide… Away in a manger no crib for a bed… Only a boy name David, only a little sling…
Before I could identify letters or read sight words, my “first ever” encounter with scripture was embedded in song and story. Over the years my story passion still burns. Because, for me, if you remove story from Scripture, it’s just another book on the shelf.
I know because I’ve done it. I’ve taken God’s word and made a list of rules to follow. I’ve laid my head down at the end of the day and checked the boxes.
… be kind to a stranger… check!
… don’t use the Lord’s name in vain… check!
… have a morning prayer time… check!
The trouble was my list became too long and impossible to complete. Not to mention there are some rules I just can’t get a handle on in scripture. No black and white system to sink my teeth into. What do I do about those?
Her text message comes early. She wants to know what the Bible says about marriage and divorce. I wonder what she’s thinking, why she asked. Because she’s too young for either, and there must be some story behind the question.
I hesitate to give the short answer. I’ll not send content free-floating on invisible message waves. God’s word cannot be separated from God’s story, nor reduced to a check list of rules to follow.
Story creates Sacred space. It’s the very place we enter the Holy and recognize we are God’s story. No list of rules needed. No check list to complete. All that is needed is the space to dance on Holy ground surrounded by the greatest Song sung.
I must be approaching a burning bush moment because I hear the words God spoke to Moses, ”Take off your shoes, you’re standing on holy ground.”
Bending low I leave my shoes in their place, and I hear Spirit whisper, Do you hear it? Our song is playing…
Shall we dance…