Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Out of the Jar

Recently I took a short three night course at my church entitled "Do It Yourself Bible Study." (Our church is always about practical application taglines!) The idea is to begin a book (John); read the chapter over three or four times one day; the next day rewrite the passage and observe language clues (repetition, dichotomies, verbs, etc); the next session, write questions regarding the text and search for meaning; and finally, the next day, apply what you've learned to your life (ask the questions: what could this mean given the context? or, perhaps, why am I confused or bothered by what it says? in order to help it impact your life).

Today, I wrote questions about the first 20 or so verses of John 1. I wrote questions until I stopped believing in God's goodness and wondered why he withheld instead of gave. Why didn't he make it so people would recognize him? Why is the darkness more appealing to many? Even his own didn't receive him? Couldn't the heir be more apparent if the stakes were so high? These are "negative" questions, I realize, yet there they were.

I began to swirl and despair. But, I typically love questions. It's interesting that when you open the lid, they fly out like lightening bugs into a dark summer night. You can watch them take flight, you can follow them to a stand of alfalfa, or to peony leaves, or you can recapture them and put them back into your jar for the night, where they die before morning.

My questions led me into a bit of research about mythology. The light/dark motif, the god rescuer ... how is Jesus' entrance different?

I'm following the blinking light, and it's taking an interesting path. Where will it land?

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