As we look to be a community of believers together, a family, God’s people, the Body of Christ, etc. we are reading the Bible together so that we align ourselves together with the same narrative and covenant. This last Sunday, we looked at the first two instances where the Bible records the Bible being written. The first is found in Exodus 17:8-16 and the second in Exodus 24:1-8. The first story is the recording of an event, a narrative, demonstrating God’s redemptive love coming to the aid of those who are abused and oppressed. The second story is of God’s covenant with the Jews and their response to do everything he has said. It is the recording of the vows from their wedding ceremony. We’ve seen how God acts and the marriage with his people.
When Scripture is read aloud in community, it is read so that the people will unite in a common story and be reminded of their common commitment to covenant with God. Moses reminds the people of this in Deuteronomy 6 before they cross the Jordan into the Promised Land and Joshua assembles the people after the first two victories in the land so they will not forget their identity (Joshua 8:34-45). Centuries go by before they assemble together to hear Scripture read aloud. Josiah, in 2 Kings 22-23, finds the Torah in the Temple. After reading it, he tears his clothes because he realizes they weren’t living the right narrative nor were they keeping covenant with God. He reads it to the people so that they will be convicted and turn back to covenant and relationship with God.
Joshua reads Scripture to the community to remind them of their common narrative and their covenant with God in order to look to the future of where they can go. Josiah reads Scripture to the community so that it will be a mirror to look into and see where they have got things wrong. When we gather around the reading of Scripture in community, we are reminded of our common narrative and commitment to covenant with God. This becomes a window for looking into the future of where we should go as well as a mirror to check ourselves in to make sure we are keeping the covenant and living out our common narrative together.
Jesus didn’t come to dismiss that narrative or covenant but to clean the window and the mirror so that we might see clearly who we are to be (1 Cor. 13:12). Christ, as our Savior and as our Rabbi, has called us to follow him. We follow him by keeping close to his teachings and actions, and by doing everything we can to become like him in every way. This is why we are reading the Gospel of Mark together as a community. Take time this week to read Mark 8-10 while asking the basic questions that are provided below. Sunday, we will hear a reading from God’s word together. My prayer is that you will prepare yourself this week to receive a word from God.
Read Mark 8-10 over and over again slowly. Read the whole thing on Monday and then take a section at a time. Ask these basic questions:
- Who do I most identify with in this story? What emotion comes with this?
- What does Jesus do that is remarkable?
- What is Jesus asking of me? What do I need to change based on what I see Jesus doing?
- What questions do I have?