Images from Living Scripture 2023
From January 10 to February 16, 2023, nine diaconal ministry students and three program staff got together twice a week to wrestle with the Bible. The Living Scripture learning circle asked questions like: What does it mean to think of Scripture as living? Can Scripture be dead? What role does Scripture play in our life and our living?
In our first session together, we asked each other, “When did we first meet?” We then turned to our Bibles and asked the same question, realizing that our relationships with the Bible have changed over our lives, and for some have included moments of comfort, wonder, and familiarity, but also moments of hurt or confusion.
Once per week, students gathered on their own for an hour of Bible study, practicing different methods and approaches for exploring Scripture in community. These approaches included using commentaries and resources to dig into the historical contexts of Scripture, or focusing on the action words and the characters in a given passage, or connecting personal experience to the text, or asking social analysis questions, or looking for glimpses of transformation through a lens of marginalization.
In circle we explored the importance of an interpretive community, and the tools and skills we might need in order to be responsible hermeneutic detectives. We explored the role of metaphor in the Bible, and with the help of Biblical storyteller Linnea Good, we practiced learning Scripture “by heart”. We struggled with the role the Bible has played in colonization and oppression, and with the ways it has also been used as a source of liberation. A student-led session explored the overlaps between the Bible and popular culture, and a session on images of the Divine greatly expanded our biblical vocabulary for the nature of God.
Near the beginning of the circle we read the lines from the United Church of Canada’s Song of Faith: “Scripture is our song for the journey, the living word, passed on from generation to generation to guide and inspire, that we might wrestle a holy revelation for our time and place.” One student asked whether we were expected to walk away from this wrestling with a limp. Or a new name. …The answer is yes, probably a bit of both. And the blessing of having wrestled together as a community.