Wednesday Word: Spiritual Reading
Spiritual reading is reflective and prayerful. – Marjorie J. Thompson, Soul Feast
I sat in on Dcn. Sue's Zoom-group discussion of Mark last night. Every Tuesday evening at 7 she leads a group of people on a journey through that gospel (except for next week when she will be out of town on a retreat) as they “read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest” what the author is telling us about Jesus.
Mark's gospel was, we presume, the first canonical gospel written. It's also the shortest of the four. It moves quickly from one scene to another, famously punctuated by the word “immediately.” It reads like a travel diary, hence the early Church tradition that this was a written recording of stories that Peter told.
Last night we read the story of Jesus going to the country of the Gerasenes where he was met by a man possessed by a demon(s) named Legion. After a brief discussion, Jesus casts the demons into a herd of swine who then rush off the cliff into the sea where they are drowned.
We also read the story of Jesus raising Jairus' 12-year old daughter from the dead and the healing of a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years.
We spent a good deal of time discussing these three stories. During the discussions there were any number of ideas as to the meaning, comparisons to other biblical stories, and how these stories might apply to any/each of us today.
Now, whether or not you join Dcn. Sue for her study on Mark, or join me for my study on Revelation, isn't the point. The point here is to remind you that, as you read through scripture, there are a variety of ways to read the text. One way is to simply read through it as a story; which is fine if you're simply looking to familiarize yourself with the text.
But another way is to read it slowly, prayerfully, and reflecting on how the text can be tied to other biblical texts as well as how it might be applied in your life today.
So read again the story of the demoniac in the country of the Gerasenes and ask yourself, “What things in my life would I rather be chained to than be freed from?”
Take your time with scripture, spend some time in prayerful reflection on passages, and listen to what the Spirit is saying.