Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A Theological Alphabet - B



Baptism – water rite signifying initiation into the people of God, our “branding” as it were; Paul tells us that in baptism we share in Christ’s death, burial and resurrection to new life (Romans 6:1-4);  it is “the beginning that never ends”; I liken baptism to our induction ceremony and boot camp into God’s people, his subversive counter-revolutionary movement. In baptism we receive a new parent, a new identity, a new family, new gifts and skills, a new inheritance, and a new vocation.  Paired with the Eucharist, “the end that had already begun,” our rations in the midst of the struggle, we live our lives between “the font and the table.” 

Bible Karl Barth talks about the Bible "becoming" the Word of God. What does he mean by this? I think it’s something like the experience of a 3-D movie. When you put on those funky glasses and start to watch the movie, suddenly one or more of the characters seems to come out the screen and confront you face-to-face! It is as if you are in their story and are required to respond. The movie has "become " real and compelling in a way it never could in 2-D.

We can read the Bible in 2-D all day long and it will do us little good (other than perhaps keeping us out of the trouble we might otherwise have gotten into!). But then there are those moments when the Bible "becomes" 3-D and the story leaps of the page and confronts us face-to-face, calling on us to respond to it in faith and embrace its story as your own (or not)!

The difference is that there is no magic pair of glasses that create this experience for us with the Bible. It "becomes" God's Word to us in this way when and where God so chooses. But our God is a loquacious God who loves to talk to us and fellowship with his people. God's Spirit will be present and ready to speak to us if we are present to the Bible and ready to wait and eager to respond to the Word we hear! At these moments the Bible too "becomes" 3-D in its compelling reality.





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