We live in a time of mass information, at all of our fingertips, 24/7. There’s no question that we can find a lot of help in answering questions and solving problems. And we can learn quite a bit, as well. One remarkable source, for whatever just criticism it receives, is Wikipedia, which I think on balance is quite good. And of course there’s all the many news sources.
But as followers of Jesus, of God’s church, we need to steep ourselves and be steeped in something more, something better than all of this. Not that these things don’t have their place, as long as we separate the wheat from the chaff, the good from the bad. What we need is a commitment to discipline ourselves in the basics of the Christian faith which we confess. We need to be regularly in God’s word, in scripture. A good goal is to read through the Bible every year, and there are programs and even Bibles to help us do that. I like the idea, adopted by Thomas Cranmer (who at least oversaw and edited, as well as wrote, from scripture and tradition, the Book of Common Prayer) of reading through the Old Testament once, and the New Testament twice a year.
I like to listen to scripture being read, as well as read it myself, the latter which I am mostly doing now. Add to that, we need to read good books from the church, which have respect for the tradition, that is what God has given the church over the centuries, and are intent in breaking new ground within that tradition, which is committed to scripture as God’s word written. We need to keep working at this little by little, one thing at a time, gathering knowledge and the corresponding wisdom which comes with that, over the years. And finding God’s Spirit to help us in down to earth ways where we live, and “where the rubber meets the road,” to meet the challenges and pitfalls of life, as well as simply living in the full will of God in Jesus.
There is no question that we live in a world which can be quite toxic in what we imbibe, not only in the physical environment, but to the point here, in what we are thinking theologically and philosophically, and from that just what “the good life is,” and how we should live. Of course for us in Jesus, this is all about death and resurrection in and through him. We live in Jesus both for him, and for others. We are on mission here from God in and through Jesus.
And so while we will be exposed to much that is not helpful, or is even downright toxic, some of that probably necessary if we’re to face the real world, we need to be those who by God’s grace are passionate to be instilled in the faith of the gospel in and through Jesus. A faith that is large in scope, as big as all of creation and all of life here. So that we can live out and speak of God’s will in Jesus in our own daily lives, within our families and into our everyday world and beyond, being changed more and more into the image of Jesus together, in and for the world.