(Our Guest blogger today is Mary Rhodes. Thank you Mary! We hope to keep our blogging going and hope you might consider adding your voice. Please be in touch with any of the pastors and we can guide you through this process.)
“All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
I hat to admit it, but a few Sundays ago–while my husband stood at the WCC lectern reading Genesis 9– my mind started to wander. Right behind my husband Steve was the lovely lavender lenten floral arrangement that Sharon Johnson gave the church, and…have we talked about what a gardening talent Sharon is? And those spectacular shades of purple! Then, quickly, I caught myself and got back to focusing on the story of Noah and the rainbow in Genesis 9. The truth is, I don’t always bring my “A” game to Sunday morning services. Sometimes, I’m slow-moving and fuzzy, and I’m no Bible scholar. Scripture readings can be hard, at first pass, to follow and grasp.
The good news is, I’ve discovered a way to turn that around. Rather than blindly plunging into centuries-old syntax each Sunday morning, I’ve found a new way to ease into scripture slowly. And it’s transforming the way I view Sunday mornings.
What’s changed? Well, I’m getting a little help. Each Thursday night, three Thursdays a month, I attend “Reading Together”. On any given week, about ten of us are connecting with Peter on Zoom to read and explore the upcoming Sunday’s three scripture verses. We would love to have you join us! Peter sends the verses to the entire church on Wednesday, along with the invitation to attend. The next evening, he guides with his own questions and insights as we work to break down the text. Peter also shares issues he’s grappling with as he prepares for the Sunday sermon. What a bonus to preview his thinking, and see the clear connection between the text and his upcoming message.
Some Thursdays my husband and I ask ourselves: do we have the brain-power and energy to do this? But we always walk away so refreshed and inspired. It’s a little like having your favorite college professor meet with you before the lecture so you know what’s coming! I don’t know any churches that offer an opportunity like this. I think we’re privileged at WCC to have pastors willing to give their time and energy in such a meaningful way. But the real surprise is how my husband and I now feel as we approach Sunday mornings.
We have this new confidence. Why? Because we’re already plugged in. We know what our pastor is thinking; we know what’s coming; and we can’t wait! It’s a little like getting to read the next chapter of a good book. No matter how scattered we might feel on a Sunday morning, we’re already invested and connected with the scripture-reading and sermon that ties it all together. All because we invested one hour on a Thursday night. I’d encourage anyone who can carve out time to give it a try. It’s also fun to connect with members with whom you might not normally cross paths. We are all in this together.
On some evenings, Pete wishes our group a good night’s rest. I feel like we’ve earned it! At the same time, the words of 2 Timothy 3:16 have never felt more clear: “All Scripture is inspired by God.”
Week by week I’m learning how to open the door to God’s Word to let in a little more light. (And by the way, that Sunday morning battle with Genesis 9? It happened on the third Sunday of the month, the only week “Reading Together” doesn’t meet!)