Paul writes – As I drove to work recently, I was reflecting on what it might mean for us to allow “scripture to read us,” in contrast to the typical practice in which we read scripture. This follows up a comment I made in my review of Maggi Dawn’s essay, Whose Text is it Anyway? Limit and Freedom in Interpretation.
· Ironically I wonder if this does in fact have to do with the way(s) in which do read scripture. I wonder if practices like lectio divina, and Ignatian reading allow us to be read by scripture?
· Secondly, I note the importance in both practices of slow reading and questions. In terms of questions, I’m thinking of the kind that a good spiritual director might encourage us to either ask of ourselves, or to respond too, e.g. “what are you most afraid of as you sit with this text?” “What do you think is the central issue or invitation for you?” “If you looked at your life in the light of the text, if you looked at your life from the perspective of Jesus what might you see?” “What other questions does this text ask you?”
Both practices (imaginative reading and questions) invite us to ask questions as a part of the practice of a deep listening to Scripture. These questions are the kinds of questions that God through the text might want to ask us; these are the kinds of questions that invite us to respond in a variety of ways, including praxis journaling etc.
To the degree that we are willing to both listen for questions and ask questions I believe we open ourselves to allowing Scripture to read us.
Common Protestant devotional practices such as reading a passage / reflection each morning (i.e. the use of daily reading notes) or, effectively, speed-reading the whole bible in a year aren’t helpful if we want Scripture to read us.
Being read by scripture is, it seems to me, about my willingness to allow myself to be changed. Our deepest potential, identity and capacity is realised when we allow scripture to ‘read us’ by allowing scripture to invite is to change and to become more, in Jesus Christ, than we currently are. Being read by scripture demands of us a willingness to pay attention both to the biblical text and our own lives, too listen to both, as the Spirit is active. It is about being fully present to God in the moments and ways that God speaks to us through the Word that became flesh.