It’s National Bible Week in the United States and my prayers this week led me to the question: How does scripture lead to transformative living? How does the heart of what we read or hear proclaimed take root in our lives in a way that changes how and why we live our lives? I think it is a journey of informing, forming, transforming.
My backdrop for writing this morning is the fierce winter wind that whistles and howls outside and enters the house through miniscule cracks along the hinges of the front door. The aspen trees beat the house and the snow falls. Schools call and text to announce closures. These noises remind me that our faith journey happens in the midst of life’s daily noises. But back to the topic at hand….
Those of you who know me, know that I will always go to the root meaning(s) of the words that I share and teach about. In the etymology I am never disappointed to find a richer and broader understanding of any word I seek to understand. This morning is no different. This is no linear process in my mind, but a continuous process of opening ourselves and allowing our lives to be changed by the living Word. These processes are interwoven like the strands of yarn knitted in a winter scarf. Forming can occur during a time of gathering information. Transformative strands weave into our lives during experience that ‘shape’ or form us. I turned to the Latin roots which give us this progression:
Inform: informare: ‘to train, instruct, educate’.
Form: formare: ‘to shape, fashion, build’
Transform: transformare: ‘change in shape, metamorphose’
Over the next three days I will look at one aspect each day and finish on the 4th day with a summary. Join me by commenting with stories and examples from your own life.
When I think about my own path of study and prayer with scripture, I recognize all three of these elements. Of course they haven’t happened in any sort of clear linear fashion that is controllable or predictable, but instead in pieces like a great mosaic left always unfinished. It includes moments of clarity and of chaos, of darkness and light, of stops and starts. My earliest teachers, my mom and the sisters at Our Lady of Knock grade school certainly had a strong hand in all pieces. They took part in my early training and education – informing me early on through oral retelling of favorite scripture stories, songs of praise and worship that my mom could belt out on an accordion, and breaking open the characters of the bible. This process of informing tends to be the most purposeful piece of the process. As adults this piece of the process might include: learning the books or genres of the bible, or perhaps learning to look at the bible using a historical critical method. Another person might journey to the holy land to see the terrain of the bible stories first hand. One thing I’ve discovered from my journey is that the ‘informing’ piece of our relationship with the living word of scripture can always be enriched – it is never completed.
What memories do you have of being ‘informed’ in scripture?