Rollins Chapel, Sunday, January 23, 2011
"How is the Bible the Word of God?"
Genesis 1: 1-5, John 1: 1-3
It’s a frequent occurrence in many Christian churches,
including my own
that at the close of a scripture reading,
the reader will say,
“The word of the Lord”
“The word of God for the people of God.”
And if you’re at all like me,
you might have wondered what exactly they are referring to.
Is the Word of God
this disposable sheet with scripture and liturgy and announcements on it?
Or is it the whole book –
sometimes a giant ornate thing which sits ominously by the altar,
or sometimes a smaller, neater prop,
flapping energetically in the preacher’s hand?
Is it just the portion we heard aloud?
And, if so, what if the reader didn’t do a very good job,
stumbling over strange biblical names,
or far off places?
“The Word of God”
is a phrase often invoked,
but rarely explored, it would seem.
At least in the circles in which I spend much of my time.
My own relationship with the bible has never been simple.
A bit like a strained sibling relationship.
but not always easy, or joyful.
A relationship of tension,
but productive tension in the end, I think.
And it is thus that I ponder how the Bible is the Word of God,
I ponder the complicates ways,
that this amazing and troubling scripture,
has been a constant partner for argument,
and has dramatically shaped my vision,
and my relationship,
with the God of Love.
As I pondered especially the Word of God these weeks,
I will admit with some chagrin,
that I became fixated on a memory of the 2008 republican presidential primary.
the so-called Youtube debate,
where questions came not from journalists,
but from common people,
through the magic of the internet.
About 2/3rds of the way through
a young, intense man from Dallas Texas,
named "calciumboy" came on the screen
"The answer to this question will tell me everything I need to know."
And holding up his bible to his webcam, he says,
"Do you believe every word of this book?"
It was a hostile question.