Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Passages That Crank My Engine

Haven't been too active on the old blog lately.  Been real busy and plus I often think I should post more often but then realize I don't have much to say. At least not that doesn't deserve to be seriously scrutinized and filtered(Hah!) But I have desired to get back to writing, if only occasionally.

Last night I embarked on a process of re-memorizing some passages that are very important to me.  By "re-memorzing" I mean polishing up my ability to recite them. Having once memorized them thoroughly, they had fallen into disuse and therefore needed some oil to flow freely once again. My method has previously been to read and then recite, over and over again, until the words are embedded in my mind. This time however, I tried typing/writing the words out repeatedly, with much quicker results. I found myself memorizing longer passages more quickly.

They're my favorite passages because they're Christological. Highly Christological.  They're passages that are full of exaltation for the Jesus "for whom and by whom all things exist." To be honest, for me this practice has probably taken the place of the worship music phenomenon, something I was once highly addicted to, and thoroughly convinced was at the heart of belonging to Jesus, following Jesus, knowing Jesus. (I'm now convinced that more often than not it's an exercise in sub-Gospel narcissism, and completely non-essential to knowing and following him.)

I welcome other passage suggestions to be added.  I have not already memorized all of these, and I suppose I'll keep expanding the list to outdistance any sort of final success to be expected on my part.  I think I may embark on the project of writing a bit on each of these passages as well.  Here are the passages(addresses only, I'll let you look them up):

John 1:1-18.  Should be at least as well known as John 3:16.  Radically exaltating.  To begin a book this way leaves no room for doubt about intentions, about whom it is that is being worshipped.

John 6: 47-58.  Everything's here: the Gospel, in poetic, prophetic language(v. 51), A Jesus-tinted interpretation of the Hebrew Scriptures(v. 49-50), an allusion to Eucharistic practice and what's at its heart, and Jesus' fixation on making himself out to be the most satisfying thing in the universe.  If he's not God, he's a complete megalomaniac.

John 15:1-17. I suppose I could simply put the entire book of John on my "to memorize" list. This chapter, set in the longer discourse of ch. 14-18, has been for me the blueprint for what it means to live the Jesus-life, to walk the Jesus-way, to expect a Jesus-shaped imprint of the hidden God.  The abide chapter.  Obedience is loving him. The law is summed up as loving one another, and the way to obedience is being fascinated with him.  Truly this kind of  Gospel is accessible to all, even the most undisciplined or sin-sick.

Colossians 1:13-29.  Jesus-saturated. Again, no room for interpretation about what lies at the center of a believer's life.  The Jesus-exalting language is heart stopping. Try reading it with a vocal emphasis every time the words "he", "him", or "Jesus Christ" appear.  Now where are the worship song lyrics that sound like that?

Hebrews 1:1-4.  A lovely beginning to what seems to me to be one of the most highly Christological books of the NT.  Establishes some serious identity questions in a very worshipful manner.

Hebrews 2:10-18.  Solidifies, like much of Hebrews, the expectation of suffering for his children.  It also gives them a grid for accepting redemptive suffering. Cross-shaped living. The fear of death is the problem.  The Resurrection, which has destroyed the works of the devil, is the solution.