Do you have a favorite book that you return to time and again?  Maybe there’s a movie that you can’t help but rewatch whenever you get the chance?  Even though you know the story by heart, and whatever surprise there might have been has long been discovered, you still desire to relive the experience once more.  Something, or maybe many things, draw you back in.

Yesterday, on Pentecost Sunday, we concluded this year’s chronological reading of the Bible.  And though our particular reading from the Book of Acts isn’t the last passage in the cannon, it stands in for the remaining works of the New Testament which point to how God’s people might live faithfully in light of a post-resurrection world.  The presence of the Holy Spirit is now the central way in which God interacts with us and with the world.  And the community of believers formed to be the church become the precursor and model for us even still today.

At its inception, to understand what was taking place and how God might be acting, the church listened to scripture, the story of God’s activity and how God’s people experienced it.  In his first sermon to the newly Spirit-filled and all in attendance, the apostle Peter relies on scripture to bring insight and offer direction.  Peter quotes from the 2nd chapter of Joel, trusting the words of an ancient prophet to explain what God is up to.  Clearly this connected with his audience and once Peter explained how the story of Jesus was the fulfillment of God’s promises, our author Luke reports that 3000 people were baptized.  And “Biblical Preaching” became a standard that every pastor of the church hoped to follow.

But the statistics reveal that most people who consider themselves Christian and participate with some frequency in a community of faith, possess only a limited knowledge of the Bible and the story it tells.  Big leaps were made once the reformers translated the Bible into common languages starting 500 years ago.  But one recent survey shows that people are turning to scripture less and less and the Bible is decreasing in importance for how people rely upon it to stay connected with God.  Church leaders, seminary professors, and certainly pastors find these trends particularly worrisome.

And we believe the story of the Bible is too good to put down.  This is one of the reasons Prince of Peace has followed the Narrative Lectionary for the past four years.  Not all the material contained in the Bible is straightforward narrative but all of it does tell an important story.  And this story helps us to makes sense of the world, as it was, as it is, and as it will be.  More importantly, it’s a story that every time we pick it back up, we’re reminded of how much we are loved and how much that love holds the key to transforming the world.  I’m ready to hear this story again, how about you?

May God’s peace come to you this day.  -Pastor Peter

Let us pray…

Blessed Lord God, you have caused the holy scriptures to be written for the nourishment of your people. Grant that we may hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that, comforted by your promises, we may embrace and forever hold fast to the hope of eternal life, which you have given us in Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.

Prayer for “Grace to Receive the Word,” Copyright © 2022 Augsburg Fortress.