They said to him, “Teacher this woman was caught in the very act of adultery. Now in
the law Moses commanded us to stone such people. Now what do you say?” Jesus said,
“Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first one to throw a stone at her.”
Many food recipes, mostly handwritten on index cards, fill a box on our kitchen counter. They’ve been given to Barbara or made by her over many years. One is a Chocolate Pecan Cookie recipe from her grandmother, Iva Bashore, who lived to be 102. No interpretation is needed to make Grandma’s cookies. Follow her recipe step by step and, presto, the cookies appear (just the way she made them)!
How nice if our journey of faith through this world was as easy as following a recipe! As it is, however, faith must be interpreted in light of new knowledge and emerging understandings that evolve over the course of time. Failure to interpret the Bible and faith for each present day will leave us stuck in the past; shackled to prior, discredited world views. For instance, in the passage at the top of the page, religious leaders in Jesus’ day were prepared to stone to death a woman caught in adultery. They had a Bible verse to justify their harsh decision (Leviticus 20:10). Jesus, however, reinterpreted the Bible verse in question. He invited the woman’s accusers to a new interpretation of the verse that included mercy. What can apply to baking is not possible in the life of faith. It is impossible to live only by strict recipes. We must interpret the Bible daily for the times in which we live.
This month in our church there will be two opportunities to consider reinterpretations of faith in light of science. On February 2 in Fellowship Hall during the Sunday School hour, Pete Schocker will present a Space Talk, Is There More Life Out There?, based on recent astronomy discoveries. On February 16, we will worship at one liturgy at 9:30 AM that includes a guest preacher, Dr. Ron Cole-Turner, of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Dr. Turner has devoted much of his career to interpreting faith in light of science. Immediately following the one 9:30 AM liturgy, he will share a power point presentation in Fellowship Hall entitled, Origins: Science, Scripture, and the Unfinished Human Story. Refreshments will be provided.
Our duty as Christians is always two-fold. First, to treasure, share, and pass down to the next generation our faith in the one God revealed in Jesus Christ. Second, to interpret the Bible in accordance with life as it truly is from an ever-expanding knowledge base. How strange and cruel it would be to continue stoning people for sins! Jesus reinterpreted the Bible. How strange and backward to ignore science, reading the Bible as if nothing has changed in 6000 years!
Plan to attend Pete Schocker’s presentation on February 2 and join us for Dr. Ron Cole-Turner’s visit on February 16. Invite friends too! Faith is a journey, not merely a strict recipe!
Interpreting faith and Scripture with you through Christ our Lord,
Pastor Doug Heagy