Pastor’s Blog September 2015

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.” Col 3:17.
As a teenager I remember attending a Christian camp in the Lake District, each morning we would meet for worship and bible study and there would be quizzes and other activities. The guy who was leading the sessions would give out points to people which would accrue over the week and there would be prizes for those who got the most points. Any way we must have been looking in Romans 8 for the leader in a classic throw away remark said,” there is 50 point for anyone who can recite the whole of Romans 8.” He didn’t expect any response after all there are 40 verses in Romans 8 but slowly a young man raised his hand, he was an unassuming, quiet man, the leader spotted him and asked him why he was raising his hand. The young man said he could recite Romans 8 and proceeded to do so. We later learned that he was learning by heart the whole of Romans. I wonder if that’s what it means to let the word of Christ dwell in you richly. It’s got to be part of it.
I’ve been contemplating what “dwell in you richly” might mean. It’s a phrase many will be familiar with. The Greek words for both dwell and richly are uncommon in the New Testament, looking at the other usage of these words I’ve discovered that dwell means to live in and is usually associated with the Holy Spirit living in us. So the word of Christ is to live in us in the same way the Holy Spirit lives in us. Scripture has got to become at home in us, the air we breathe, and we can see that memorizing scripture is certainly a way for this to happen. Especially as “richly” means generously, we are to let the word of God enrich us and that I think means that we need to consider the portion size of our scriptural intake. How much, how often at what depth are we engaging with the bible?
The ways in which we let the word of Christ dwell in us richly will ultimately be different for each of us but what is clear from this verse is that we have to choose, to let scripture enrich us, we have to give thought to how that will happen for us.
At the beginning of October we are encouraging the whole church to participate in the E100 Bible Reading challenge and our Sunday services will be based on the same material. The idea is that in 100 readings over 20 weeks we will take a bird’s eye view of the whole story that the bible tells. My hope is that it will give us all the chance to think about how we let the word of Christ dwell in us. Can I encourage you all to take part in this as I’m sure we will all benefit from the experience?

Phil