lent :: one

read with a vulnerable heart.  expect to be blessed in the reading.  read as one awake, one waiting for the beloved.  read with reverence.

–Macrina Wiederkehr

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God has chosen to be bound to the words of Scripture; in and through them, the Holy One draws near.

–John Mogabgab

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come with me by yourself to a quiet place and get some rest.

–Mark 6.31

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are you tired?  worn out?  burned out on religion?  come to me.  get away with me and you’ll recover your life.  i’ll show you how to take a real rest.  walk with me and work with me–watch how i do it.  learn the unforced rhythms of grace.  i won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.  keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.

–Matthew 11.28-30


  1. These are such good thoughts for the middle of winter and the beginning of Lent (which means spring, but, of course it isn’t yet in so many places :- )

    I am not familiar with John Mogabgab; I will have to look him up. His quote rubs at me though, Kort. I wonder what its original context was. I have a friend who says that, “Jesus is the Bible”. Does that also mean that the Bible is Jesus? I think there is a point at which reverence for Holy Scripture can turn into idolatry. I guess it is a small distinction, but I would rather it be said that, “God has chosen to bind the words of Scripture to Himself”.

    I do think that the Holy One uses the words of scripture to speak to us–it is *one* of the ways He draws near. I am grateful that we have such easy access to the Scriptures today, as it has not always and everywhere been so. Indeed, many (most?) churches did not have a complete copy of the Bible before the invention of the printing press. Before that time the Christian faith was taught orally and the word of God was heard, rather than read. I believe that we have gained much by having inexpensive print copies of the Bible available to us, but we have lost some important things, too.

    Goodness, I didn’t intend to leave such a long comment. You’ve certainly got me thinking tonight! :- )

  2. hooray for long comments!

    i don’t know much about John Mogabgab or the wider context of the quote either…he was an editor at a theological journal called Weavings. i found the quote in an excellent book called Soul Feast by Marjorie Thompson, in a chapter about lectio.

    i included it because it spoke to me of the immanent Creator being bound by a finite book. it spoke of greatness making itself small. it spoke of finding God in the pages of a book–a thought that thrills the reader in me. i love the power of your rendering as well. it resounds in my ears like St Patrick’s Breastplate.

    the quote also brings up for me the (sore) topic of submission to the scriptures. that if God is somehow bound by scripture, then i might approach and find healing and strength along side submission. so many have used the easy, cheap access to God’s word for power over others instead as a way of life. the quote opened up for me another possibility.

    and yes, scripture is but one way God speaks. tonight at church i marveled at how eloquent the space was: candles being lit, cross draped in purple, ashes, prayers, bread and wine. scripture was a part–the lovely Isaiah 61 and Psalm 103–but one among many. the holy one was drawing near.

    stay tuned for more scripture throughout lent.

    peace keep you, friend.

  3. Kort, I love what you shared about how Mogabgab’s quote spoke to you. Yours are such good, edifying thoughts! I often ponder the mystery of God coming near to us by becoming small, especially in the Incarnation. The ancient Hebrews understood the power of God as word and deed: God spoke, and creation sprang forth; Jesus is the ‘Word made flesh’. Scripture is certainly God-breathed and holy.

    I really like your thoughts about submission to the Scriptures, too. Having personal easy-access to the Bible is a source of healing, comfort, joy, and instruction, and I deeply cherish it. However, sometimes I wonder if this personal gain is Christianity’s loss. What I mean is that personal Bible reading has led to some wildly differing interpretations. When I was young I clung to this thought (from St. Augustine?): “In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity.” Today, I see more and more that the essentials are being called into question, such as the meaning of baptism and who can receive it, the meaning and substance of the Lord’s Supper, the role of Scripture in faith formation, etc. Unity is crucial to our faith; without it the Body falls apart, and we share nothing in common. (Which is not to say that there cannot be beautiful diversity within the church.)

    I also see laity with no real training in Bible interpretation slice and dice verses, and apply a very limited understanding of ancient Greek and Hebrew to their Bible reading, often with frightening results, distorting the plain reading of the text (which has already been painstakingly translated for us by true scholars into our *own* language).

    I worry that in contemporary Christianity, Sacred Scripture has been given an importance that has crowded out other equally important faith forming elements. The Scriptures themselves tell us to hold fast to the traditions that have been passed down to us, and to the teachings of the apostles (2 Thess..2:15-16). If you ask many Christians today what the pillar and foundation of truth is, most of them will reply, “The Bible”. But, the Bible declares that the *church* is the pillar and foundation of truth. (1 Tim. 3:15).

    Those are the thoughts that Mogabgab’s quote inspired in me! So, it’s a very good quote, indeed, and I am glad that you included it with the others. I really like what that quote brought to mind for you, much better, Kort. Yours are encouraging thoughts, and exactly what I need to be reflecting on this Lent.

    You are a very gracious friend, Kortney. I so enjoy talking with you about God and faith. There are not that many people in my life who are interested in sharing about these things. Thank you, dear one 🙂

  4. we haven’t even talked about the first quote! do you know Macrina? she’s a Benedictine sister. i love her work.

    Sue, you do “read with a vulnerable heart” like Macrina advises. it’s one of the reasons i enjoy our friendship.


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