Breaking Open The Scriptures
Scriptures for January 24th – Nehemiah 8:1-3,5-6, 8-10; Psalm 19, 1 Corinthians 12:12-31a; Luke 4:14-21 Songs: My Life is in You, Lord (sing twice), TFWS 2032; Open My Eyes, That I May See – UMH 454; We are Called – TFWS 2172
Nehemiah The people of Israel have gone through a lot by this time. They were kicked out of their country. They held onto their faith, so that they could return to their homeland. And now that they are back, they want to be reminded of the ways of God, so that they can live with God at the center of their lives. The way to learn the ways of God, is to read the scripture. So they have the scribe read to them. He reads all day and all night. As they listen, they realize that what they thought was faith, is not in the scripture. Ezra explains to them how they should be living. This book is named for Nehemiah – the governor of the region. He makes a commitment to help them to rebuild their city, their temple and their lives in God.
1 Corinthians Paul is sending this message to the Corinthians to correct that wrong understanding bought out in the Hebrew Bible reading. The importance of reading the right scripture- it to do right living. Last week, Paul explained that a community has many different gifts. But he also wants us to know that no one gift is ever more important than the community. When we recognize the gifts that God has given our community, it is important for us all to be willing to work together. We need to understand that we are all a part of a universal body. And we have to learn to be together. That is the challenge of Christianity – you can’t do it alone. You have to do it with people who encourage you, and those who don’t. They are both a part of your development.
Questions What is the importance of reading the scripture in your life? Why is it important to read scripture aloud in worship? How is that different from reading alone? What gifts has God given you? How has the community supported you? What gifts has God given to Cornerstone? Who do we use them? How to we bury them?