2 Corinthians 3:4-11
“Not that we are competent of ourselves to claim anything as coming from us; our competence is from God, who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of letter but of spirit; for the letter kills but the Spirit gives life.” (2 Corinthians 3:5-6; NRSV)
When I was in the Army, if a soldier needed to know how to do something that involved his or her military specialty, there was a manual available with detailed instructions. These manuals were valuable for giving basic knowledge, but there was no substitute for training, shared wisdom, good leadership, and common sense in putting that knowledge into action.
We have a lot of detailed, important, and necessary instruction in Scripture about who God is and who we are to be as His people. If we, however, restrict ourselves to trying figure out what to do in every situation of life by using the Bible as a manual we will find more frustration than enlightenment, and might even interfere with the purposes of God. Along with Scripture, we need the wisdom of the faith community through the ages, thoughtfulness and common sense, and the enlivening work of the Holy Spirit and a person-to-Person relationship with God through Christ, to give us the love, passion, and compassion for others that will bring new life to others.
Lord of love and knowledge, during this Lenten season give us the desire to delve more deeply into the stories and teachings of Scripture, and, by the gift of your Holy Spirit, make them come alive in us and through us in ways that give hope and new life. Amen.
–Fr. Larry Parrish, St. Thomas Episcopal Church