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Through the Waters

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Through the Waters is the blog of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Christian vocation ministries. Because the ministry of Christian vocation affirms the need for all baptized Christians – including Presbyterians - to identify and claim their call to discipleship in each decision and life choice, this blog is designed to serve as a resource for youth and young adults, as well as those in ministry with them, to assist the Holy Spirit in God’s movement in this journey through the waters. Take some time to read and think about your own responses to the questions posed here. For additional resources, we suggest that you visit our website.

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September 21, 2012

Holy Listening

Page from ScriptureI was recently asked to be prepared to share my favorite Scripture passage at a gathering. This seemingly small assignment really got me thinking. How was I to select a “favorite?” Since childhood, the Bible has been an important part of my life and there are various passages that hold different significance to me. A favorite one day may not speak to me as much the next week.


I tend to gravitate to the narratives of Scripture; the stories of God’s movement in the lives of individuals and communities. The minute details have never been as important to me as the big picture of God’s work in the world. So my first thoughts fell upon stories: Moses, David, Ruth, Paul, and many of Christ’s parables. Figuring, though, that these large portions of the Bible aren’t exactly what was intended by the request, I turned to the Psalms.  That day, for whatever reason, Psalm 121 with its image of God as a protector sang out to rest happily within me.


One of the main ways that we learn more about this God to whom we pray and for whom we live is through the Scriptures. While not all of us can read passages in the original language or recite chapter and verse of each reference, we deepen our relationship with the Holy One by hearing more about the ways that God has moved throughout the past and then how that continues today.


As our group shared our favorite Scriptures one at a time, we engaged together in a form of lectio divina, an ancient form of Bible reading. Through a series of hearing the words read aloud, meditating on the words silently, and listening and sharing what we heard and noticed, we not only paid attention to God’s movement through those words but also heard God’s movement in the lives of the individuals present. Each of noticed different aspects of the passages, based on what God needed us to hear at that time.


Since we have different backgrounds and experiences with the Bible, finding our favorite or even having a favorite if we’re new to the Bible, can shut down our whole process. Using a lectionary, previously selected Bible texts for the day or week, is a way that we can make Scripture a part of our daily lives.


Regardless of the processes that we use to read Scripture, it is difficult to be in relationship with someone we hardly know. The Bible is our foundation for this relationship.


How can you incorporate reading the Bible into your journey of faith?


How do you listen for God’s movement as you read Scripture?


What Scripture passage speaks to you today?


 The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time on and forevermore. 
Psalm 121:8