For if you had believed Moses,
you would have believed me,
because he wrote about me.
But if you do not believe his writings,
how will you believe my words?” – John 5.37
Scripture and experience are meant to complement each other. The difficulty with our relationship to the scriptures is our lack of presence to the scriptures – for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is their sometimes antiquated level of consciousness. The scriptures often convey dualistic ideas and mythic-membership perspectives. As a result, we tend to read them on the surface level and not let the scripture read us on the depth level.
That is one reason why cultivating a daily practice of lectio divina is so helpful. The slow reading of a short portion of scripture in the silence can help us grow more attentive to the wisdom embedded within, deeper than any one particular layer of consciousness; deeper than the historical level of interpretation. In this sense, being read by the scripture may lead us to experience our self and the Presence of God. And in this way scripture and experience collaborate for our growth and transformation more fully into Christ.
Jesus’ sharp rebuke of the Teachers of the Law in this Gospel passage from today’s lectionary is a reminder that Jesus must have been frustrated with the human over-reliance upon written scripture over against the real living presence of Wisdom and Love itself in their midst. An experience was available right there, but they preferred to argue over the law, turning the scriptures into something to think about and disagree with. It’s an oh so human a tendency, and something I’ve seen in myself over the years.
The invitation is to welcome and consent to the living presence of love and wisdom in our experience. Moving from one centered thinking to three centered living: mind, heart and body. The most effective remedy I am aware of is pairing daily lectio divina with a twice-daily thirty minute Centering Prayer practice.
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