Working Poor, the Word of God

At church this morning, there were two items that stood out to me:

1.  A lady from a house that feeds the hungry spoke to us.  The lady told us a story about someone who has a part-time job in the sewer-plant, and he rides his bike to and from work.  But, because a part-time job is not enough to live on, he eats his meals at Hope House.  It’s because of stories like these that I’m sick of right-wing rhetoric that says that people are poor because they don’t work.  There are poor people who do work.  It’s just not always enough to pay the bills.

2.  The sermon was about spiritual growth.  My understanding of the essence of the message is that reading the Bible leads us to grow spiritually.  And the pastor said that, if we do not grow spiritually, then we will die spiritually.  I still read my Bible—through my weekly quiet time.  Whether or not that helps me to grow spiritually, I do not know.  I still get interesting things out of it, and perhaps I can find something that I can research academically.  I don’t do a daily quiet time in the Bible, however, but I read daily devotions—which do the work of coming up with applicable lessons from the Bible. I find that preferable to the legalism and the dark sayings that I so often find in the Bible.

The pastor said that, whatever soil we may be (the text was the Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13), God still scatters the seed of his word.  In my opinion, this is an important point.  I can read the Bible to get God’s word, but it’s not as if I am cut off from God’s word by not reading it—for God is present and communicates in day-to-day life.  I don’t have to make God come near by performing religious activities.  God is not far from any of us.

A question that I had in my mind: What was the word of God that Jesus was spreading?  The pastor applied it to Jesus’ death for our sins and his resurrection, but I don’t think that Jesus was telling the masses about that: the disciples actually received Jesus’ message, and they were baffled at the notion that Jesus would die!  The message may have been that the eschatological kingdom of God was about to come, and so people had better repent.  Or that God is forgiving sins.  Jesus’ death and resurrection had something to do with both of these things, and so they were incorporated into the message by the apostles, after they occurred.  But Jesus wasn’t explicit about these things when he spoke to the masses.

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
This entry was posted in Bible, Church, Politics, Religion. Bookmark the permalink.