The vestry and I had a great conversation this week about a quote from fourth century theologian John Chrysostom:
The Holy Scriptures were not given to us that we should enclose them in books, but that we should engrave them upon our hearts.
We do a lot of things to engrave scripture on our hearts at St. Paul's. We read the Bible aloud, Old Testament and New, each week. We hear sermons to open the words of scripture to us in new ways. The words of the Book of Common Prayer are filled with words and passages from the Bible, so that many of us have them memorized. We sing words from the Bible in hymns and anthems.
But all of that happens on Sunday mornings.
What about the rest of the week?
Many of us have daily or weekly Bible-reading practices. But many of us have never regularly opened a Bible in our homes.
For this program year, I propose that we take on a new spiritual practice all together as a parish: St. Paul's Verse of the Week.
St. Paul's Verse of the Week
Each week, we'll have one verse from the Bible to focus our week together. The verses will come from all kinds of books of the Bible: Old Testament stories, prophets, wisdom literature, gospel stories of Jesus, and New Testament teachings.
You're invited to engage with the verse in any way that's meaningful to you.
I plan to journal on the verse as part of my prayer practice that week. You could also:
memorize the verse
read it aloud as a family at the dinner table each night
read the verse in the broader context of the book it's in
draw or otherwise make art of the verse
or any other way you can think to engage with it.
The verse may or may not come up on Sundays during worship or formation classes. The main idea is for us to have a small assignment to take home with us, and to try on new ways to engage with scripture. Whatever you do, the goal is to engrave that verse on your heart that week.
I wonder how this consistent, specific, shared engagement with scripture will shape our community this year? I hope you'll take up this invitation and join me!