Monday, August 1, 2011

Encountering God in an NT Wright Commentary

I am working at putting Worship On Wednesday together this week and we are working our way through the Gospel of St Luke's. On Wednesday we are dealing with Luke 7:1-17, looking at the two narratives of  Jesus healing the centurion's servant, a man of great faith and raising the son of the widow of Nain from the dead, a miracle where it seems to be all about compassion rather than faith. I am using three commentaries for this study on Luke.

1. Luke for everyone  Tom Wright, 2004
2. Luke in the NIV application commentary Darrell L Bock, 1996
3. The Gospel of Luke: The New International Commentary on the New testament. Joel Green, 1997

In Wright's commentary on the Widow of Nain, Wright takes an approach which seems different to the rest of his commentary... He walks people through the passage and then invites them on a guided meditation and I found myself struck by how relevant it was for me as I wrestle with a whole lot of issues to do with dreams that seem to have come to naught and having to look for employment. I mentioned to my supervisor recently "I Don't know if God and I are on talking terms at the moment," But in the midst of doing sermon prep I encountered God in this NT Wright commentary. Let me quote it here.

" Now go through the scene again; (Luke 7:11-17) but this time, instead of it being a funeral procession in a small first-century Galilean town, make it the moment you most dread in this next week or next year. Maybe it's something that you know is going to happen like a traumatic move of house (big possibility) or job (yup). Maybe it's something you are always afraid of,... .Come to the middle of the scene, if you can in prayer; feel its sorrow and frustration, its bitterness and anger. Then watch as Jesus comes and joins you in the middle of it. Take time in prayer and let him approach, speak, touch, command. He may not say what you expect, he may not do what you want. But if his presence come to be with you there that is what you most need. Once he is in the middle of it all with you, you will be able to come through."

In a post called 'The Sky Is Cracking' I said I felt my world was starting to crack and crumble about me and I didn't know if it was  that or rather Jesus breaking in... NT Wright's reflection lets me know its the later and Jesus isn't on the outside but there in the centre.  "I will be able to come through".

1 comment:

  1. I just love Wright's "For Everyone" series. Good stuff. Thanks for sharing how we are able to come through!